Archive for February, 2012
I’m not the only blog-writing toker in the Pacific Northwest taking notice of the latest group of medical marijuana industry players to oppose legalization for the rest of us. Dominic Holden, a former NORML activist and now writer for the Seattle Stranger‘s blog, The Slog, examines the motivations behind the No on I-502 / Patients Against I-502 / Patients Against NAW campaigns:
(The Slog) The medical marijuana industry—threatened by the prospect of legalization harming their business model—was a leading opposition to the 2010 legalization initiative in California. Similarly, medical marijuana activists in Washington have been opposing I-502.
The anti-I-502 campaign was filed by Martinelli and Gil Mobley, a doctor who operates a clinic in federal Way that writes medical marijuana authorizations, and the campaign has the backing of Patients Against I-502. That organization’s advocacy has been led in part by Hempfest director and medical cannabis patient Vivian McPeak along with marijuana defense attorneys Jeffrey Steinborn and Douglas Hiatt. All except Mobley have direct ties to Sensible Washington, a campaign that twice failed to qualify their own legalization initiative that contained no DUI provision and zero regulations.
…and of course, Dr. Gil Mobley will be writing a whole lot fewer $150 – $200 medical marijuana permission slips when any adult 21 and over can get and possess an ounce without one. (I know, y’all will write to me and say that your financial interest in the issue has no bearing on your opposition to I-502. I’ll take you at your word, but it is only fair for our readers to be aware of any potential conflict of interest, just as I’d tell them how President Obama takes a lot of campaign cash from Big Pharma.) And let’s not forget the well-documented animosity felt by Sensible Washington’s proponents when ACLU of Washington (the proponents of I-502) would not endorse Sensible Washington‘s I-1068.
Those activists have been hammering Holden (as they have me) over the dire threat looming if I-502 passes; namely, we’re “throwing medical marijuana patients under the bus” in order to get our “recreational ounce”, because all patients would be re-criminalized as DUID drivers thanks to the 5ng/mL per se DUID standard included in I-502. Those patients, they’ll tell you, could never drive because they use so much cannabis they’d never be below 5ng/mL. To bolster their claims, they’ve presented some of the DUID studies that Paul Armentano has done such a great job of condensing. Unlike Armentano, Holden, and myself, they didn’t bother to read them.
(Seattle Slog) The same scientific study that medical marijuana activists are using to blast a marijuana-legalization initiative, it turns out, debunks their own leading argument.
Yesterday, Anthony Martinelli, the treasurer of a new campaign to oppose pot legalization on the fall ballot, claimed that Initiative 502 would subject sober pot smokers to DUI charges if they’d smoked pot the day or week before. Over the past few months, that talking point has become the primary line of attack to stop legalization in Washington State—and now their campaign is picking up donors. But at the time of our interview, Martinelli couldn’t produce the study to validate his central argument.
Martinelli did send me that study later yesterday afternoon, and I checked it out, but it shows the opposite of what he said it did.
Martinelli is referring to the work performed by Karschner et al where 25 long-term regular cannabis users were studied over a seven day period. Of those 25 tokers, “most of the participants reported daily or near daily cannabis use in the last 14 days.” And of those 25 tokers, just one was above 5ng/mL – Participant S was at 7ng – and that was on the day of admission where she admitted she had smoked four blunts that day. Now, nothing in the study tells me when she was admitted that day, but logic dictates that it would probably have been during the workday. So, yeah, if you smoke four blunts between waking up and, say, 5pm, you just might be above 5ng/mL.
For comparison’s sake, Participant N is a 21-year-old obese African-American woman who admits to smoking pot starting at age 9. She admits to smoking a half-ounce per day and had done so that day. She didn’t even have detectable ng/mL when she checked in. Participant L, a man who’d smoked an ounce that day tested at only 0.4ng. The next highest level was only 2ng/mL for Participant W, a morbidly obese woman who’d smoked eight blunts that day. And the next day after not toking, Participant S was down to 2.9ng and Participant W was down to 1.4ng.
In short: Given 25 tokers who smoked anywhere from 1-10 blunts or from a “dime” to an ounce per day, there was only one who tested above 5ng/mL. For the vast overwhelming majority of tokers, if you wait 1-4 hours after toking, you’ll never be above 5ng/mL.
Now remember my belief that I-502 calculated the per se DUID provision would win more votes than it loses? Looks like I was right by an over 5-to-1 margin:
The reason we’re talking about this at all is because strict DUI provisions will help get this thing passed (and help stave off attacks about stoned driving that have helped defeat other pot initiatives, such as Prop 19 in California). A poll last May by Quinlan Rosner Research found that the DUI provision alone prompted 62 percent of voters to say they were more likely to support I-502, and only 11 percent said it would make them less likely to support the initiative.
So if we want to stop arresting 10,000 people for marijuana each year, we need to pass I-502 this fall. And we can ignore ginned up claims by medical marijuana activists that I-502 will ensnare drivers who are sober. For now, they seem to be fighting I-502 because it won’t let them drive high.
Also consider that the people so concerned with the welfare of the patients are asking you to vote against:
- finally providing patients with real protection from arrest instead of just an affirmative defense you need to pay a medical marijuana lawyer upwards of $10,000 to mount in court;
- providing patients who have moderate need a way to be legal without buying an annual $200 permission slip from a medical marijuana clinic;
- creating truly legal retail outlets for patients to acquire medicine aside from quasi-legal medical marijuana dispensaries; and
- establishing a legal way patients could grow and sell marijuana commercially.
Filed Under: NORML
Of all the despicable fear-mongering being promoted by Patients Against Pragmatism, this one takes the cake:
What’s worse is the ZERO tolerance clause for those under age 21. Drivers in this age bracket will be guilty of DUI if even the smallest amount of cannabis is found in their system. Anything over 0.00 in fact. In other words, a designated driver subjected to second-hand cannabis smoke would be held criminally liable for the activities of others.
First off, let’s refer back to the Karschner et al study in a previous post. In that study, 25 regular heavy cannabis consumers were tested. When they walked in the door, eleven of the twenty-five had no detectable levels of THC in blood, even after smoking anywhere from 2 to 10 blunts that day. Another thirteen had levels below 5ng/mL. Only one subject was above 5ng that day, and she dropped below 5ng the next day.
That’s first-hand smoking, people. Almost half of the first-hand smokers would beat this zero tolerance standard (one had no detectable levels after smoking a half ounce that day.)
So, what of the second-hand smoke the designated driver is subject to?
OK, first of all, are we talking “second-hand smoke being exhaled by passengers in the car at the time he’s designated driving”? If so, he should face the same punishment as someone who lets their passengers drink beer while he’s driving, whatever that punishment is.
Or are we talking about “second-hand smoke that was exhaled by his passengers back at the party before he began designated driving?” Well, that’s easy enough to debunk, even without turning to science, just by asking yourself one simple question:
If second-hand pot smoke would trip a drug test, don’t you think a whole bunch of employees fired for positive drug tests would have successfully used that excuse in court by now?
Will exposure to passive marijuana second hand smoke result in a positive marijuana test?
The most common excuse for a positive marijuana test is, “I was around some people who were smoking pot.” Research has shown that casual exposure to marijuana smoke will not produce a positive test. A person really has to work at being exposed to “passive” smoke to create a positive test. Very close confinement, without ventilation, with several smokers, for a period of over an hour, may result in a low, but measurable amount of marijuana in urine and blood. This demonstrates that even though the person may not have directly inhaled the smoke from a marijuana cigarette, they inhaled enough second hand smoke to get high.
So, in this one talking point, the opponents of I-502 legalization are telling you we must not legalize the possession of one ounce of weed, a pound of edibles, and four pints of tincture, and we must not create a commercial market for growing, selling, and buying marijuana for adults over 21, because:
- Some young adult below the legal age of cannabis consumption…
- …might be hanging out in a very small room…
- …that isn’t well-ventilated…
- …with several people who are toking a whole lot of weed (and are they of legal age?)…
- …but he/she didn’t smoke any of that weed him/herself
- …and he might get in his car and drive shortly afterward…
- …and then either get in a wreck or attract the attention of a cop…
- …who might suspect the young adult driving is impaired somehow…
- …but not by alcohol…
- …and then subject the young adult to a sobriety test and/or DRE that he/she fails…
- …and then arrests him/her and drives him/her to the hospital for a blood draw…
- …and in the hour that has elapsed plus how ever long he/she was driving before the cop stopped him/her…
- …there are detectable amounts of THC in his/her blood and the young adult is convicted of a DUID.
I suppose if you think preventing a young person from thirteen levels of highly-unlikely “ifs” is worth the certainty of another 10,000 marijuana possession arrests next year, then this line of reasoning makes sense to you. I think a more reasonable solution for those 13 “ifs” is for the crew to pony up some money for cab or bus fare.
Filed Under: NORML
ScienceDaily (Feb. 28, 2012) Cannabis-like substances that are produced by the body have both therapeutic and harmful properties, besides their well-known intoxicating effects, and the body’s cannabinoid system may be a target for new strategies in cancer treatment. This is what Sofia Gustafsson finds in the dissertation she recently defended at Umeå University in Sweden.
Abuse of cannabis and preparations containing synthetic cannabis-like substances (cannabinoids) is on the rise all over Europe. At the same time, cannabis-based drugs have been approved for certain medical purposes, and in Sweden a compound was approved for symptom alleviation in multiple sclerosis (MS) just the other day. Intensive research is underway about whether new substances that affect the body’s own cannabinoids can be exploited for medical purposes, for instance, to relieve pain and to inhibit the growth of tumors. These are the reasons why Sofia Gustafsson studied the impact of cannabinoids on both the nervous system and tumor cells.
The body’s own cannabinoids, so-called endocannabinoids, mediate a number of different functions in the central nervous system and in the immune system and are involved in motor movement, reward effects, and learning and memory processes. Cannabinoids from the plant kingdom and synthetically produced cannabinoids affect both of these functions, all of which are mediated via cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabinoids have moreover been shown to affect the fate of cells. Cannabinoids protect some brain cells, whereas cells in certain types of brain tumors, such as glioma, are stimulated to commit controlled cell suicide (apoptosis). Most research on the effects of cannaboids on the nervous system has focused on the adult, fully developed nervous system, while we have relatively little knowledge about the effects on a nervous system that is still developing.
In summary, the findings of Sofia Gustafsson’s studies show that cannabinoids can be toxic for cancer cells as well as for nerve cells, and that they decrease emryonal survival. These findings are important for our knowledge both of the potential of the cannabinoid system as a target system for new strategies in cancer treatment and of the risks of new drugs, such as Spice, on nerve development.
Further information: http://umu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:488475rvn=1
Recommend this story on Facebook, Twitter,
and Google +1:
Other bookmarking and sharing tools:
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.
Filed Under: Science Daily