Novice users may be at particular risk of that.

For example, a 16-year-old crashed into one car, fled, then hit a parked car last year. He admitted to Phoenix police that he felt "light-headed" after smoking pot and knew he shouldn't have been driving. A blood test showed he had 2 nanograms per milliliter of active THC in his body. If he'd been stopped in Nevada, he would've been at the legal limit for that state, but the teen wouldn't have been considered too high to drive in Washington state.

Compare that to the findings of a 2009 study of heavy marijuana users funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study took 25 long-term heavy users and put them on the wagon for a week in a secure clinic where they could be examined (and where they couldn't toke up). NIDA researcher Marilyn Huestis, who participated in the study, tells New Times that some of these heavy users reported smoking up to 60 joints a day before they abstained for science.

By day seven, six of the 25 still had measurable amounts of active THC in their systems. A user who checked in with 7 ng/ml in his blood still had 3 ng/ml in his system on the last day. The residual THC still affects the brain and, based on other studies, could cause impairment for driving, Huestis says.

When ingested, the active ingredient in pot finds common receptors in the brain that are involved in "critical functions . . . control of movement, divided attention, critical tracking, staying in the lane," she says.

One thing the study didn't research, though, was users' actual driving histories. Asked whether her research made her comfortable enough to predict the percentage of suspected cannabis-caused crashes in Phoenix last year, Huestis declined to throw out numbers.

Daniel Rees, an economics professor at the University of Colorado-Denver, says his research shows that traffic fatalities have declined in states that have legalized marijuana for medical use and that the decline appears to be related to the new marijuana laws. Rees says his paper on the study will be published this month in the Journal of Law and Economics.

His theory is that enough people in the pro-pot states have substituted marijuana for alcohol use to make a difference in the crash trends. Even if the study from the British Medical Journal is correct about the crash risk for drivers doubling after pot use, Rees pointed to a 2004 study that showed drivers with a .08 BAC were 10 times more likely not just to be in a crash, but to cause one.

"From a public-health standpoint, you want people to be driving under the influence of marijuana rather than alcohol," Rees says.

He describes the BMJ report as warning of the "worst-case scenario" and refers to other driving research that shows little to no significant crash risk for some high drivers. Rees doesn't doubt that pot affects the brain, but, he says, studies show "drivers under the influence of marijuana take fewer risks. They go slower. They put more distance between them and the driver in front of them."

For years, police have hosted events in which volunteers pound down a few drinks and then take a field sobriety test. Hilarity ensues when the subjects, who are warned not to drive, stumble around and can't find their nose with their index finger. With pot, the results aren't so predictable.

A CBS affiliate in Seattle, KIRO-TV, conducted a similar test with pot users in February, allowing volunteers to drive on a closed course and give blood to measure their THC levels. Under the watch of a Sheriff's Office drug-recognition expert, three volunteers — whose pot use ranged from occasional to heavy — smoked before driving with Cascade Driving School instructor Mike Jackson.

The sheriff's deputy and driving instructor didn't notice any problems at active THC levels that were three to five times higher than Washington's new 5ng/ml limit. With increasing dosages, however, all three made driving errors that could have gotten them into a crash or pulled over by a cop.

For Jackson, the experiment "certainly raises the question of where the legislative limit should be."

In this context, Arizona's limit of zero for THC and its metabolites clearly is too low.


If you're convicted of a marijuana-DUI in Arizona, expect the usual punishment — and then some.

Besides "a boatload of fines and fees" and at least 24 hours in jail for a first offense, motorists convicted of driving with illegal drug metabolites have their licenses suspended for a full year, instead of the typical 90 days for alcohol offenders, says Valley defense attorney Michael Munoz.

A vehicle-interlock device that detects only alcohol must be installed in the offender's car, barring a waiver following a drug-and-alcohol evaluation.

The consequences are worse for a pot-DUI than for possessing pot in Arizona, the latter usually a misdemeanor offense with no jail time and a smaller fine.

Some cities, like Tempe, don't target pot-positive drivers aggressively under the zero-tolerance law, says Robert Hubbard, Tempe city prosecutor.

"I wouldn't go out on a limb and say any amount of this stuff is a slam dunk [conviction]," Hubbard says, adding that if the levels of THC or its metabolites are low, "I'm not going to prosecute."

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42 comments
bigrobstercraws
bigrobstercraws

This law is really messed up.  I got a sober DUI last week.  I have a medical card.  I just got done walking my dog for 1.5 miles, running about 3 and hitting the gym.  Then I showered and got behind the wheel.  No way was I impaired.  I wasn't high, buzzed or anything.  I've been toking for decades, every day. So my blood is gonna be positive.  I was an idiot who agreed to the FST because here I am stone-cold sober, thinking I'll just show them I'm sober.  F'n BS law.

someguy111
someguy111

Yep its another bullshit pot law.  The truth is they have no way to know when the last time you smoked was or if you are impaired.  They can only pull blood which could show a joint smoked two weeks ago.  Its not the same as alcohol and shouldnt be treated the same way with testing.  I feel bad for anyone dealing with these totally unjust laws.  For fucks sake its a plant, im not hurting anymore, so just leave us the fuck alone.

BuddJones
BuddJones

Cannabis can be planted outdoors under the Sun, either on natural soil or in pots of pre-made or commercial soil. Of course some strains are better than others for outdoor cultivation. One strain is not the same as the other and some is just more suitable for your garden than others. This can of course depend on different conditions, variables and aspects. Outdoor marijuana strains, like most other strains, can be bought basically anywhere and there are hundreds of different cannabis strains that are bred for outdoor growing, or at least claimed to be so. A lot of these outdoor cannabis seeds are simply copies of other already existing strains or seeds and have just been given a different name or a nice and interesting sounding description.

kwhittington33
kwhittington33

this same exact thing has happend to me. I had smoked a joint a day before getting pulled over and just like the report says if a "D.R.E." officer pulls you over and they can prove you have any type of metabolite in your system then your basically screwed. I have had to pay THOUSANDS of dollars to the state of Arizona for getting a DUI plus since I am a MMJ patient they couldnt charge me with any marijuana related crimes so after charging me with not only a DUI i was required to take Substance abuse classes and a MADD (mothers against DRUNK driving) course. Also what the report doesnt mention is that in AZ once you are charged with any type of DUI you are required to have a Breathalyzer installed in your vehicle for a YEAR! (average 100$/ month) AZ is a police state and anyone that says otherwise needs to get their heads checked.

traveller67
traveller67

"Paper Please" law, armed posse at schools, zero-tolerance on pot DUI - sounds like a police state to me.

theglassfish13
theglassfish13

My nephew, who is not a patient, is still going to be convicted of a dui for pot, even though he was sober.  He was involved in an accident on his way home from school that was not his fault.  He was sober, but had smoked a joint two days before to celebrate a new job.  After the accident, the police determined he was impaired "to the slighest degree" pupils slightly dialated, and had trouble with field test.  (later, the blood results showed he was completely sober, and had only trace cannibinoids in his blood, showing he was telling the truth) .  His "impairment" was caused by getting punched in the face with an airbag after getting in his first accident, and he was frazzled.  He was offered no medical assistance, and was instead arrested, despite the accident being the other drivers fault.  

Our laws definately need to be reformed.  His life will be altered forever, and he is a good kid, didn't even do the crime he will be convicted of.  AZ sucks!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

*** Cities can BAN Pot Shops, State Supreme Court rules ***

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities and counties can ban medical marijuana dispensaries, a decision likely to further diminish the network of storefront pot shops.

In a unanimous opinion, the court held that California’s medical marijuana laws — the nation’s first and most liberal — neither prevent local governments from using their land-use powers to zone dispensaries out of existence nor grant authorized users convenient access to the drug.

The ruling came in a legal challenge to a ban enacted by the city of Riverside in 2010, but 200 other jurisdictions have similar prohibitions on retail pot sales, the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access estimates.

Of the 18 states that allow the medical use of marijuana, California is the only one where residents can obtain a doctor’s recommendation to consume it for any ailment the physician sees fit as opposed to only for conditions such as AIDS and glaucoma.

...

Coinspinner
Coinspinner

When I come home from work, it's the aggressive drivers causing all the dangers and issues.   Why aren't you screaming for new aggressive-driving laws?

Coinspinner
Coinspinner

Why do insurance company assure us there are no issues with stoned drivers?  Shouldn't they know?

Coinspinner
Coinspinner

Republicans fight the Feds on guns, abortion, prayer, immigration, but try to legalize marijuana and suddenly they say "whoa, can't do that because of Federal law!" 


Total hypocrites, it's disgusting.

FRONTERA
FRONTERA

How quickly Monty has forgotten about what happened to the last County Attorney .

irq77
irq77

There's a lot of information in that article.  Thank you Ray.  :)

cennrenn
cennrenn

Dude come on man, a little pot never hurt anyone.


www.Total-Anon.tk

Trommy
Trommy

What is the deal with this County Attourney.  Does he not have access to any scientific studies or is it he just hates anyone who isn't like him.  I wonder if he keeps some pain pills around for you know when he might need them.  I have never seen anyone who acts so intense unless they are covering something up about themselves.  Makes you wonder!

logicman
logicman

I don't like the idea of stoned drivers out there but this is a little ridiculous.  

cassityg32
cassityg32

Of course but drink yourself into a stuper & you can drive the next morning...by law. Oh & lets let all elelderly drive w/o regular or more frequent driving tests regardless of the meds they may be on or disability same a half

judgeharoldlee
judgeharoldlee

It is typical of right wing dingbats and pretentious politicos like Bill Montgomery, who incessantly bemoan the Feds impinging on State powers. Yet, these same two-faced political whores want to take over control of federal immigration law. While, in the same breath they fight to overthrow the will of State voters , who have thrice voted to allow access to medical marijuana. State's right's my ass you dictatorial dicks

bobsaccount
bobsaccount

I listened to the guy's online radio show.  The Eagels and Phil Collins.   And he calls it "Psychedelic."  Guilty as charged!

lhaskie
lhaskie

Please note that Tad's radio website is waxtraxradio.com

bass24
bass24

certified drug-recognition experts" You must mean cops that profile people and besides people that are drunk drive like there is no tomorrow and care free step on the gas. A stoned person will drive way more cautious slow and concentrate on driving.

Sounds  like they knew that Zaccard and targeted him. Come on Cops your breaking the law pulling people over for no reason! and lying that Zaccard was impared.

I hope he sues for damages.

teknik
teknik topcommenter

I've heard the cops will pull so s BS about your toungesppearing green.I can tell you one could sit down and smoke up a 1/4 oz or eat a dozen highly medicated cookies and your toungesppearing is not going to turn green.the simple fact that the cops lie and this lie can be proven should have this tossed as a cop looking to make a bust regardless of the actual state the person is in.smoking cannabis does not, nor does eating cannabis nor has it ever made one's tongue appear green.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

MontyPug, the joke of Nazicopa County.

Persecuting sick folks because of trace amounts of THC?! Why did voters even bother passing this law? All it does is give MontyPug (who kept Peter Spaw on taxpayers teat despite confessing to Constitutional violations and abuse of power) a license to put people in jail.

bobunf
bobunf

This nonsense (convicting people driving while impaired by marijuana when they are very obviously not  impaired by marijuana) is possible only because of the utter neutering of the Grand Jury.  This institution (enshrined in our 5th Amendment) came to us from England.  It's purpose was to protect Englishmen from a King's ability to charge people for no good reason. It was a screen between accusation and indictment.  

Here in Arizona in the 21st century we have the perfect example of the need for this institution.  But it hardly exists.  The only people on a Grand Jury are those who can take significant time away from work and family obligations for essentially no pay for a period of four months.  This is a select group who tend to be older, less emphatic and less informed.  

And then, let not any member of the Grand Jury express any doubt about interpretation of law, the process, nor anything detrimental to the prosecutor.  Removal is always an option for the powers that be.  

Only a majority vote is required for indictment.  Neither the accused nor his attorney have any right to appear, and almost never is that rule waived.  No contrary or conflicting evidence is ever presented, except by accident.  The Grand Jury knows nothing but what they are permitted to hear by the prosecutor.  

One consequence of the neutering of the Grand Jury is that prosecutors like Bill Montgomery are able to promote these types of obvious injustice.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Arizona and the other states that allow medical or recreational MJ use needs to wake up to the scientific realities.

Oh, wait.. teabagger state so science is a four letter word here....

marcy
marcy

You have the right to remain silent, use that right and stop thinking you are obligated in ANY way to tell a cop that you smoked pot, are or are not sober, did or did not have a drink, etc.  You have the right to NOT take a field sobriety test and only a fool takes a field sobriety test.  It is NOT a test that will be used to prove you are sober but is a test used to collect evidence, usually subjective evidence, that you are impaired.

Once you have admitted to having had a drink or smoked pot you have given the cop probable cause to draw your blood.

Shut up and your chances of staying out of jail are a lot better.

As for morons like Montgomery, if it is difficult to prove someone is impaired due to pot that does not mean the burden of proof should be dropped to nothing, if you can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is impaired on pot then you have no business arresting and prosecuting them.

If the Arizona Supreme Court doesn't see this as an end run around the medical pot law, it is time for another voter initiative.

BuddJones
BuddJones

@prisonabolitionistMost plants grow under most light spectra, but always prefer a full spectrum light. A test done by Ed Rosenthal[citation needed] found that when a room was set up using both high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) lamps the plants in between the two lights did better than those under MH alone but not as well as those under HPS. However, certain plants (as cannabis) can be grown successfully under both types of light. MH is used for vegetative phase of growth, as it encourages short inter nodes (distance between sets of leaves), and inhibits cell elongation, creating a shorter, stockier plant. Metal halide lamps produce more ultraviolet radiation than high pressure sodium lamps, which may play a role in increasing the flowering (and for certain plants as cannabis the amount of working substances as THC) produced by the plant. High pressure sodium lamps trigger a greater flowering response in the plant and are thus used for the second (or reproductive) phase of the growth, or they are used by those people who only wish to purchase a single lamp.[11] If high pressure sodium lamps are used for the vegetative phase, plants usually grow slightly more quickly, but also have longer inter nodes, and may be taller.

BuddJones
BuddJones

@DonkeyHotayIf you want some killer pot you have to start out with killer seeds. You will want to do a little research before you pick out the strain you are going to grow. Some strains like outdoors and lots of light and some like indoors under lower light conditions. I like indoors because you can control the plants environment. Plus you don't have to worry about pest and critters eating your plants. Well not totally but your chances are better than the open outdoors.

The seed is where it all begins. You cant just take any old pot seed and expect it to grow bad ass weed. Its all in the genetics. To grow bad ass weed you have to have bad ass seeds.

I hear these are some good places to buy seeds...
http://www.rollitup.org/seed-strain-reviews/1288-marijuana-seeds.html

williamwhittenburg
williamwhittenburg

@Trommy well ya he runs the illegal drug trade making sure to let his people go with a wrist slap while putting the competition in jail 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@logicman  

While I agree in respect to anyone driving while impaired in any fashion, it has been shown in numerous studies conducted by Law Enforcement agencies that drivers who are driving while stoned are not a danger to other drivers and certainly not more dangerous than any of the currently legal methods of impairment available in our society.

Also, the law here in AZ, and in most other places, makes no distinction between being stoned at the time of the 'incident' and having been stoned anytime within the past 30 days, since they consider any metabolized indicator in the blood to being stoned, which science has proven is not the case. 

If the same Arizona law where applied to alcohol, you could be considered to be driving drunk if you have had a drink within the past 2+ weeks, even though we all know and science has proven that too false.

You are right, this is ridiculous, especially with the available scientific data.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@judgeharoldlee  

The guys like Montgomery and the other right wing dingbats don't care about states rights or citizens rights, all they care about are their rights and feel they are entitled to be the dictators simply due to their 'divinity'.

Sanctimonious pricks

GrayRace
GrayRace

@bass24 That what you get from Gilbert Cops.  They got nothing better to do on their time.

cassityg32
cassityg32

I wad thinking the same damn thing.

teknik
teknik topcommenter

I hate autocorrect!

Coinspinner
Coinspinner

@DonkeyHotay @Flyer9753 The study you quote showed just the opposite of what you said.  These people were at 30ng/ML (ie., 6x the CO limit) and the police said they were driving just fine.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Flyer9753  

You are quoting a 'study' (and I use that term very loosely here) done by a TV station, that is NOT scientifically done, has no idea whatever else the participant was on (they only checked for MJ prior to the test, nothing else), was not done in a controlled manner, was done with a very small test group (only 3 people) and only 1 "expert" that we do not know they qualifications as your source????

ROFLMFAO!!!!!! What an idiot - come back to me when it's an ACTUAL test and not a show being put on to get people to watch their 'news' station.

As I have said, I do not advocate anyone driving inebriated on anything, but c'mon, citing this as an actual test with real world scientific and accurate results is just stupid.

Come back to me with an actual test correctly done and we'll talk, until then, I will stick with the real studies done on an actual representative test group, done by scientists and LEO's who know how to do a proper study instead of this propaganda.

 
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