Joint You Smoked Last Week May Haunt You

Joint You Smoked Last Week May Haunt You
Posted by CN Staff on August 24, 2006 at 08:19:37 PT
By Jim Phillips, Athens News Senior Writer
Source: Athens News
Ohio -- In June 2003, an Athens County jury acquitted an Athens area woman of aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with a car crash that killed a Shade man.A blood test allegedly showed that Farah Holter had chemical byproducts of recent cocaine use in her system at the time of the crash. Her attorney, however, using expert medical testimony, persuaded the jury that those byproducts, or "metabolites," were not impairing Holter's ability to drive.
Holter was convicted of only a misdemeanor charge of negligent manslaughter. If her case came up today, however, the outcome might be different.Effective Aug. 17, the state of Ohio has made it a criminal offense to have certain levels of drug metabolites in your system, regardless of how impaired you may or may not be. Police still aren't supposed to be able to order a blood or urine test without some evidence of impairment. But some observers worry that Senate Bill 8 will result in people being charged criminally for the lingering evidence of prior drug use."There are obviously going to be more cases," predicted K. Robert Toy, an Athens defense attorney who handles a fair amount of DUI cases. "I call this the Defense Attorney Relief Act of 2006."According to a handout from Athens County Municipal Judge William Grim, including information from the Ohio Department of Health's Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Testing, S.B. 8 sets "per se" prohibited blood and urine levels for certain drugs. In plain English, if you have the listed level of the drug in your system after last Thursday, you're breaking state law regardless of your impairment level.Drugs cited in the law include marijuana and its metabolites. S.B. 8 sets illegal blood levels for marijuana (presumably its active ingredient THC), as well as two different levels for marijuana metabolites, which are breakdown products of THC that can show up in the blood long after the intoxicating effects of marijuana use have worn off.Before S.B. 8, according to Athens County Assistant Prosecutor Colleen Flanagan, there were no defined illegal bodily levels in Ohio for many drugs of abuse, other than the 0.08 milligrams per decaliter of alcohol in the bloodstream that makes one legally drunk. Therefore, she said, the presence of heroin or cocaine in a person's blood could be used as an aggravating factor in another crime, or as supporting evidence for a drug-possession charge, but wasn't itself a crime.Toy said he supports keeping people who are high on marijuana out of the driver's seat. However, he said, it's known that marijuana metabolites linger in the bloodstream long after the high wears off, which could lead to people who are not impaired being punished for driving with something in their bodies that poses no threat to the public."You may be convicted of DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) without being impaired," he said. "That's the issue."He added that while police officers are supposed to establish that a suspect is impaired before asking him to undergo blood or urine testing, in practice he believes officers will use very flexible standards for finding evidence of impairment.As a defense attorney, Toy said, he has seen cases in which an officer testified that a suspect showed all six "clues" of being impaired during sobriety tests (follow a pen with your eyes, walk a straight line, stand on one leg, etc.)"Then they give them a drug test and - guess what? They shouldn't have had six clues (based on their drug levels)," Toy said. The clear implication, he suggested, is that officers in the field sometimes see what they want to see in a field sobriety test, in order to justify a blood or urine test. He noted that he has never seen a field sobriety test performed on videotape, though many police officers have video cameras on their cruisers to record vehicle stops.Toy said he also worries that officers may seek blood and urine testing on people they think look like probable dope smokers."I see a lot of people bopping along wearing nose rings being stopped and given the test without evidence of impairment," he predicted.Flanagan noted, however, that S.B. 8 doesn't criminalize the drugs it cites, because their use was already a criminal offense - it just wasn't illegal to have evidence of that use in your bloodstream."I would say, first of all, that all of these drugs would be illegal to use to start with," she said. She added that she would tend to trust the word of a police officer who reported that a suspect had shown evidence of impairment on a field sobriety test.Flanagan said she believes S.B. 8 was needed. "I think it fills a gap," she said. As an example where the new law would be useful, she offered a scenario in which someone crashes a car, but is too injured to undergo a field sobriety test. Blood samples taken at a hospital could be used to establish drug use by the suspect, which could then be used to support a criminal charge. Before S.B. 8, the presence of the drugs in the person's system alone would not have been the basis for a charge, she noted.Flanagan pointed out that the new law also extends, from two hours to three hours after an alleged offense, the time period in which police can take a blood, urine, or breath sample for testing, which she said will also be a change welcome to law enforcement.Complete Title: Joint You Smoked Last Week May Come Back To Haunt You Source: Athens News, The (OH)Author: Jim Phillips, Athens News Senior Writer Published: August 24, 2006 Copyright: 2006, Athens NewsContact: news athensnews.comWebsite: Articles:Law Quantifies Drugged-Driving Levels Legislation Misleading & Unfair Bill is Excessive
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Comment #17 posted by Truth on August 25, 2006 at 08:55:00 PT
"LETS DRUG TEST OUR POLITICIANS BEFORE EVERY CRITICAL VOTE! Let's make it an offense to pass legislation under the influence of drugs or alcohol!"Great idea, but....Wording it like this "drugs or alcohol" falsley imlpies that alcohol is something other then a drug. This is false and it's what the prohibitionist want the public to believe, hence the lie. If one wants to single out alcohol they should word it "alcohol or other drugs". With out a doubt, alcohol is a psychoactive substance making it fit into the set that we call "drugs".
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Comment #16 posted by freewillks on August 24, 2006 at 21:37:58 PT
Ted & Patrick Kennedy 
would have to add a provision that someone could take the test for As would most of the white nosed lemmings. Could a brownie and taco bell on the front seat of the car be cause to test? The Liberty Bell needs to ring agian.
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Comment #15 posted by boballen131313 on August 24, 2006 at 15:42:10 PT:
Drug test our bureaucrats and politicians!
LETS DRUG TEST OUR POLITICIANS BEFORE EVERY CRITICAL VOTE! Let's make it an offense to pass legislation under the influence of drugs or alcohol! The potential of severe harm is very real when these folks start tossing a few back before casting their vote for the people. 
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Comment #14 posted by Dankhank on August 24, 2006 at 15:20:06 PT
several ...
in the military when tallying errors it's one, two, numerous.The link I posted is dated 2004, so Paul, your standard is one, several?
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Comment #13 posted by whig on August 24, 2006 at 15:15:25 PT
paul armentano
Thank you for the pointers. I've made a note to myself to work on a blog post about this.
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Comment #12 posted by billos on August 24, 2006 at 15:13:53 PT
has had this law in place for a while.Also, more states are melding new inforamtion into
your driver license re-newal form. Many states now state that by signing your re-newal you subject yourself to drug screens whenever DMV requests.......Technically anyway.
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Comment #11 posted by paul armentano on August 24, 2006 at 14:44:04 PT
Dates of the last updates of NORML documents appear in the lower right hand corner of each webpage.
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Comment #10 posted by Dankhank on August 24, 2006 at 14:23:37 PT
I wouldn't sneer at this one:Forensic Science Review Vol. 14, Number One/Two, Jan 2002until I read it ...
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Comment #9 posted by Dankhank on August 24, 2006 at 14:20:56 PT
dates .........
For those of us in the trenches it would be helpful if info on the web could be dated, like the canorml link.Perhaps ya'll at Norml could consider that ...
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Comment #8 posted by paul armentano on August 24, 2006 at 11:40:21 PT
That essay linked to by Dankhank (post #5) is several years old. The most current NORML publication on DUID is here: I will also have an extensive review of the subject published in the new issue of Florida Defender, the journal of the FL Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.By far, the most comprehensive review of the evidence regarding cannabinoids and driver culpability/impairment is the work by Grotenhermen, Leson et al.: "Developing Science-Based Per Se Limitsfor Driving under the Influence of Cannabis (DUIC)." PDFs of their review are available at:
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Comment #7 posted by Dankhank on August 24, 2006 at 11:37:48 PT
it's been around for a while, fairly new, I believe ...within a year or so ...
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Comment #6 posted by whig on August 24, 2006 at 11:28:09 PT
Is that a brand new article on NORML on driving and marijuana? I should put it up on the blog if it is. If it's an older study I should still put a link to it, because this is one of the most commonly believed negative assumptions about cannabis, and it has real consequences for our issue. People assume that cannabis use would increase under a legally obtainable status, and incorrectly that cannabis users are much more dangerous drivers, therefore they incorrectly conclude that legal cannabis would mean more car accidents and injuries/deaths due to them.This hurts us very badly and most of our activists' discussion and persuasion with the public has omitted the discussion of cannabis and driving, except to say that we're not talking about that and of course it would still be illegal to drive under the influence, blah blah blah.Well people are going to smoke and drive, whether it's legal or not. People do it today. And the question is, does this endanger public safety. The answer -- no, it does not, according to these studies.
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Comment #5 posted by Dankhank on August 24, 2006 at 10:40:10 PT
driving ....
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Comment #4 posted by Dankhank on August 24, 2006 at 10:36:55 PT
Cannabis and Driving ...
DOT HS 808 078 "Marijuana and Actual Driving Performance" Final Report, Nov. 1993 Conclusions on page 108 of the copy I received from the NHTSA are interesting and informative. A sample, "It is possible to safely study the effects of marijuana on driving on highways or city streets in the presence of other traffic." "Drivers under the influence of marijuana tend to over-estimate the adverse effects of the drug on their driving ability and compensate when they can; e.g. by increasing effort to accomplish the task, increasing headway or slowing down, or a combination of these." DOT HS 808 939 "Marijuana, Alcohol and Actual Driving Performance" July 1999 Conclusion on page 39 midway of paragraph 5.1 of the copy I received: The addition of the new data, (for marijuana), broadens the range of reactions that may be expected to occur in real life. This range has not been shown to extend into the area that can rightfully be regarded as dangerous or an obviously unacceptable threat to public safety. DOT HS 809 020 "Visual Search and Urban City Driving under the Influence of Marijuana and Alcohol" March 2000: Conclusion 1 on page 24 of the copy I received. "Low doses of marijuana, taken alone, did not impair city driving performance and did not diminish visual search frequency for traffic at intersections in this study." General Discussion, page 22 “Previous on-the-road studies have also demonstrated that subjects are generally aware of the impairing properties of THC and try to compensate for the drug's impairing properties by driving more carefully (Hansteen et al, 1976; Casswell, 1979; Peck et al, 1986; Robbe 1994). “DOT HS 809 642 "State of Knowledge of Drug Impaired Driving" Sept 2003: Experimental Research of Cannabis, page 41 midway: "The extensive studies by Robbe and O'Hanlon (1993), revealed that under the influence of Marijuana, drivers are aware of their impairment, and when experimental tasks allow it, they tend to actually decrease speed, avoid passing other cars, and reduce other risk-taking behaviors." DOT HS 808 065 "The Incidence and Role of Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers" Oct. 1992 In discussing the "Distribution of Ratings on Driver Responsibility" Table 5.12 page 64 of the copy I received, paragraph (p.65); "Responsibility, drugs and alcohol”, third paragraph, the following appears: "Note that the responsibility rates of the THC-only and Cocaine-only groups are actually lower than that of the drugfree drivers. Although these results too are inconclusive, they give no suggestion of impairment in the two groups. The low responsibility rate for THC was reminiscent of that found in young males by Williams and colleagues (1986).” This study is remarkable in it's propensity to attack itself as inconclusive. Forensic Science Review Vol. 14, Number One/Two, Jan 2002, surely must be the reference of note regarding metabolic functions and where the THC goes following ingestion. This review discuses THC and it's metabolites; THCCOOH, 11-OH-THC to mention the most discussed. Location and type of measured quantities of these and other metabolites should be easy to use to determine if a driver is "stoned" or was stoned yesterday, or last week. Mention was made of a man who had measurable levels of metabolites sixty-seven days after ingesting Cannabis. Chap IX paragraph D, "Summary" appears to be of two minds. While stating, "Studies examining Cannabis' causal effect through responsibility analysis have more frequently indicated that THC alone did not increase accident risk …," it continues optimistically suggesting that further exhaustive research may rebut that. All of the studies agree that combining Cannabis with any other drug, such as Alcohol ... a major deleterious effect on driving skills, as is benzoates with Cannabis … it rapidly becomes evident that Cannabis in combination with any number of other drugs is not to be desired, but that Cannabis and Cocaine alone in all six studies have the smallest perceived safety risk of all the drugs and drug combinations tested and against drug-free drivers.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 24, 2006 at 10:16:28 PT
Seniors Thought Pot Plant was Nice Weed
August 24, 2006PRESCOTT, AZ -- A Yavapai County sheriff's deputy patrolling a senior housing development outside Prescott Wednesday spotted a 5-foot-tall marijuana plant growing between two residents' driveways.Deputy Justin Dwyer got out, identified the plant and interviewed the residents, spokeswoman Susan Quayle said. They told the deputy they thought the plant was "just an attractive weed, and they had been watering it because it looked so nice."Quayle said it appeared the plant was growing wild and probably sprouted from a stray seed. Dwyer told the homeowners he would have to confiscate it and asked them to call deputies if more were found. Copyright 2006 The Associated Press
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on August 24, 2006 at 09:51:16 PT
Wow, that lady is a Republican?! Oh boy, is she going to shake things up, I can see that right now. But the question is whether she will be given attention in the mainstream media for that position, or will she be ignored and blacked out? She needs to get that statement in front of as many eyes as the John Karr story is getting.
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on August 24, 2006 at 09:43:26 PT
What A Stupid B*tch!
She added that she would tend to trust the word of a police officer who reported that a suspect had shown evidence of impairment on a field sobriety test.Cops never lie or abuse their powers. What a crock of sh*t! Cops are the biggest lying crooks there are!Athens County Assistant Prosecutor Colleen Flanagan is obviously a part of the beast which is dragging this coountry down to hell. Screw her and her little mind.Now this chick I dig...GOP candidate says 9/11 attacks were a hoax:
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