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Author: Shernide Delva
As more and more states legalize marijuana, there has been a concern on how to monitor impaired driving. Now, police are testing a marijuana breathalyzer on drivers for the first time. The device is manufactured by Hounds Labs and CEO Mike Lynn who is an emergency room doctor in Oakland, California, and a reserve officer with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Lynn began pulling over drivers suspected of impaired driving during the initial field tests. However, the use of the breathalyzer was optional.
“Basically everyone agreed because they were curious,” Lynn told US News & World Report. “The objective was not to put people in jail but to educate them and use the device if they volunteered so we could get the data.”
All the drivers tested were not arrested, but they were required to find another ride home. The Hounds Labs breathalyzer can detect marijuana (smoked or ingested) as well as alcohol. Lynn says his breathalyzer can even measure the concentration of the drug. In the past, other technology could only detect THC.
“It’s not as if every breathalyzer will be replaced overnight [but] it will completely change the ability to recognize stoned drivers,” said Lynn last year, “[and] our technology also will prevent the wrongful arrest of people who have some THC in their system but are not impaired.”
Last year, Alameda County Sherriff Greg Ahern told US News that he is eager to use the new breathalyzer.
“Current methods for testing THC are not practical for the roadside,” Ahern said. “On top of that, results can take weeks and will only tell us if marijuana is in a person’s system. By measuring THC in breath, Hound Labs, Inc. will help us get impaired drivers off the road and also make sure that unimpaired individuals who happen to have some THC in their system aren’t wrongfully arrested.”
Lynn hopes to have the breathalyzers distributed within the next six months. Hounds Labs is not the only one working on this new technology, though, however, it is the closest to market. Another company, Cannabix Technologies said in a July press release that they are working on a reduced size version of their product.
Other devices like Intelligent Fingerprinting detect traces of sweat from one’s fingertips. Their device is likely to come out next year, according to US News.
“We do have a significant stable of cities and counties that are interested in piloting and thus validating our product for roadside [driving under the influence of drugs] stops,” said Duffy Nabors, vice president of sales and marketing at Smartox, the company that distributes the fingerprint technology.
How does marijuana affect driving?
With all this new technology to test drivers, the next question is how much does marijuana impair drivers? The exact impact of marijuana on driving ability remains a controversial subject. However, while drunk driving is on the decline, driving after consuming marijuana has become more prevalent.
The next question is if there can be a threshold established for marijuana in the same way that alcohol’s threshold is .08. Several studies have been conducted to find out the level of THC that is needed to impair driving ability; however a threshold has yet to be established.
As for driving, marijuana can impair a person’s judgment, motor coordination, the ability to concentrate, and slows down a person’s reaction time. Therefore, using marijuana while driving does pose a significant risk and increases the chance of an accident occurring.
Overall, while more and more states are in the voting stages of marijuana reform, impaired driving remains a serious problem. Driving under the influence of any substance is a major no-no. Do not take this risk. If you are struggling with addiction, do not wait. Call today.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
A pharmaceutical company that manufactures a form of the painkiller fentanyl made a $500,000 contribution towards an anti-pot legalization campaign. Pro-marijuana reform advocates believe the company may be trying to “kill a non-pharmaceutical market for marijuana in order to line their own pockets.”
It would be hard to imagine a more controversial donor than Insys Therapeutics Inc. The company, based in Chandler, Arizona, makes a fentanyl sublingual spray called Subsys. Many argue that drug companies like Insys Therapeutics Inc., are eager to keep cannabis illegal to dominate the market with their often dangerous and addictive drugs. The donation from Insys Therapeutics Inc. makes up more than a third of all the funds raised by the group. Advocates for marijuana legalization criticized the contribution, citing a variety of legal issues around the company Insys.
Advocates for marijuana legalizations criticized the contribution, citing a variety of legal issues around the company Insys.
“[Our opponents] are now funding their campaign with profits from the sale of opioids—and maybe even the improper sale of opioids,” said J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
“We hope that every Arizonan understands that Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy is now a complete misnomer. Their entire campaign is tainted by this money. Any time an ad airs against Proposition 205, the voters should know that it was paid for by highly suspect Big Pharma actors.”
In addition to selling Subsys, Insys Therapeutics Inc. has developed Syndros, a synthetic version of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The drug received approval from the FDA in July 2016 for the treatment of AIDS and cancer patients.
Still, while the contribution is a victory for the opposition, the initiative itself remains a contest for either side to claim. A recent poll found that 50% of Arizona voters favor
While the contribution is a victory for the opposition, the initiative itself remains a contest for either side to claim. A recent poll discovered 50 percent of registered Arizona voters favor legalization, 40 percent oppose the measure, and 10 percent are undecided
Insys said in a statement that its opposition to the legalization of cannabis was “because it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children.”
Furthermore, there have been studies revealing some negative health effects of marijuana. Some of these studies link marijuana to a variety of side effects.
In a report from the American Medical Association, they stated:
“Heavy cannabis use in adolescence causes persistent impairments in neurocognitive performance and IQ, and use is associated with increased rates of anxiety, mood and psychotic thought disorders.”
Many in opposition to marijuana legalization believe the drug can be addictive for some people. Also, some worry about the easy-access child may have to the drug if legalized.
Proposition 205: The Final Verdict
On November 8, 2016, Arizona residents will vote on the ballot regarding Proposition 205:
- A “yes” vote supports this measure to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by persons who are 21 years of age or older.
- A “no” vote opposes this measure to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by persons who are 21 years of age or older.
Marijuana legalization will continue to be a hot topic across the country. Many believe marijuana legalization would put a strain on the recovery community. Still, when it comes to sobriety, it is up to the individual to commit to the lifestyle of recovery. If you are struggling with any form of addiction, legal or illegal, we can help. Call toll-free today.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
In a historic turn of events for legislators in the home of the Buckeyes, Ohio lawmakers in the House have passed a medical marijuana plan after an extensive debate reaching across both sides of the aisle.
For the years leading up to now the House has opposed plans to legalize marijuana, medicinal or otherwise, despite all efforts put forth by advocates in the area. Now in a surprising turn of events they have approved a plan 71-26 just this Tuesday. The bigger
For the first time members of Ohio’s GOP-controlled House had a serious discussion about medical marijuana after they found themselves feeling the pressure with two medical marijuana efforts working toward the November ballot.
Probably the biggest influence on this shift was that recent polls determined the majority of Ohioans are much more interested in legalizing medical marijuana rather than marijuana for recreational use. The change may have come when they realized with so many issues being taken with Big Pharma and the abuse of prescription drugs, a more progressive push towards alternative medicine might not be as terrible as they once considered.
For House Democratic Representative Dan Ramos from Lorain, this was the focal point of his opinion. Ramos expressed that he believes medical marijuana is a needed alternative to opiates for some chronic pain patients, and cited the opiate epidemic for his reasoning with a dramatic demonstration.
Ramos held up a sheet of paper saying it represented the total number of people who have died of marijuana overdoses…
The paper was blank.
By comparison, he exclaimed that 2,020 deaths were linked to opiates in 2014 – nearly 80% of all overdose deaths. This probably had a profound impact on the lawmakers, seeing as how Ohio has seen a lot of devastation from the opiate epidemic and overdose outbreak in the past few years.
Setting the Boundaries
House Representative Stephen Huffman is actually the bill’s GOP sponsor. Huffman is an emergency room physician from Tipp City, and in talks about medical marijuana he stated this new proposal is what’s best for patients after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration failed to act. After reciting a heavy helping of the Hippocratic Oath that physicians take to care for patients, Huffman passionately argued,
“I am absolutely convinced that there is therapeutic value in medical marijuana. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind.”
Still, Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature isn’t quite as open to accepting ALL forms of medical marijuana… so don’t get ahead of yourself just yet. The bill sets up stern restrictions, including:
- It would not allow patients to grow marijuana at home
- Patients are not permitted to smoke it
- Employers can still fire employees for having marijuana in their systems, even if it is recommended by a physician
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC- the chemical that gives users their “high”) would be limited to 35% of plants and 70% of extracts
However, one of the loopholes for the smokers is that patients could use a vaporizer, which heats marijuana into a gas or stream rather than burning it to smoke. The bill has changed in some noteworthy ways since it was introduced last month. One way is that it specifies about 20 conditions that would benefit from medical marijuana, including:
- Epilepsy or another seizure disorders
- Chronic pain
- Traumatic brain injuries
The commission could add other diseases as needed. Other changes include:
- Allowing parents and caregivers to possess marijuana to administer it to someone else
- Requiring identification cards for patients AND caregivers
- Creating a program to help veterans and others afford medical marijuana
Even with the changes, medical marijuana advocates fear strict restrictions on doctors will deter physicians from recommending medical marijuana to those who could possibly benefit.
The spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana is Aaron Marshall, and one thing that troubles him about this bill is that while the House seems to be taking at least some action toward alternative medicine, the law should be tailored to benefit patients and not hinder their treatment. Marshall commented,
“If they are going to use the threat of our ballot issue to pass a bill through the House, it should be a patient-focused plan that will actually provide medical marijuana to those in need,”
It is worth mentioning that several of those who opposed the bill did so for reasons concerning the patients, not so much out of an outright opposition to the idea. For example, Democratic Representative Alicia Reece from Bond Hill, along with five other Democrats, voted against the proposal because it fails to protect workers who use medical marijuana recommended by a physician. Reece said she was “torn” on which way to vote. While she believes in the value of the treatment, Reece says she feared more people, especially African Americans, would be sent to jail for small amounts of medical marijuana or fired from their jobs for a testing positive and that they would not be protected by law. Her opinion was simply,
“Should it be a bill or should it be taken to the people and be in the constitution?” I’m always a believer in the people. I always think the people know best.”
Many of the other House lawmakers remain hopeful that the voters will embrace their measured approach over the two ballot initiatives working toward the November ballot. These measures are currently being pushed by Ohioans for Medical Marijuana and Athens-based Grassroots Ohio. They two movements have been working on collecting the 305,591 signatures needed by July 6 to get their own plans on the ballot.
The bill will be going before the Ohio State Senate before long, and minor changes are expected there. Ohio Governor John Kasich could find himself sitting down to sign-off on it by the end of the month, and Kasich himself has said he would support a medical marijuana proposal if it were property written and there was evidence that the need was there.
So, the question becomes will Ohioans prefer this new House approved option over the other two plans outlined by community advocate organizations. Does this plan stand to help provide alternative treatment while effectively preventing drug abuse and other issues associated with drug abuse and addiction? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
In case you missed it, Palm Beach Country will now decriminalize marijuana. With a 4 to 1 vote made on Tuesday, Palm Beach is now following in the footsteps of West Palm Beach and Miami Beach in the effort to reduce marijuana arrests.
“We have to understand that we cannot legislate and lock up everybody for everything they do,” Commissioner Priscilla Taylor said at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
The new ordinance states that anyone with possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana will no longer be arrested. Instead, law enforcement will have the option to issue a $100 citation for the possession. Low on funds? Not a problem. Those who cannot pay the citation will have the option of working it off through community service hours.
Let’s Break This Down
Just to put it all into perspective, here is an overview on what the new ordinance means for residents in Palm Beach County:
- How many grams? According to the ordinance, 20 grams or less of marijuana is eligible for a fine. If someone is found with more, they face harsher penalties.
- What’s the punishment? If found possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana, officer would issue a $100 fine and a civil citation.
- When does this go into effect? As soon as the law is filed with Florida Department of State, which estimated to be in about 10 days.
- What if someone can’t pay? If you are unable to pay, you have the option of doing 10 hours of community service instead.
- Does this mean marijuana is legal? No, marijuana is still a criminal offense in the state of Florida. Even if you are caught with less than 20 grams of pot in Palm Beach County, the officer has the choice of whether to issue a citation or a criminal arrest.
- How many citations can I get? A person caught with a small possession of pot is allowed to receive a citation a maximum of two times.
- Underage? The ordinance only applies to those that are 18 and older.
The Palm Beach ordinance passed with a 4 to 1 vote, and Commissioner Hal Valeche was the only one in opposition of the ordinance. Valeche said he believes marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to harder drugs. He is also worried about discrimination that can occur when it comes to an officer choosing to give a fine over a misdemeanor.
“You’ve gotta have pretty firm and hard guidelines as to how you chose which one to do,” Valeche says. “Otherwise I think you open yourself up to claims that you’re treating different individuals differently.”
Valeche could very well have a point. A 2013 report with the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that on average, black residents are close to four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites, despite the statistics that show marijuana use is equal among both races.
Looking at other states, New York decriminalized the possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana way back in 1977. The law decriminalized pot provided it was not in “public view,” however this law was largely ignored for the better part of 38 years. Police officers found a loophole and forced suspects to empty their pockets, essentially taking the drugs into “public view.”
However, on Nov. 10, 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called a press conference and announced that the city would stop filing criminal charges for people carrying small amounts of pot. Since 2014, marijuana arrests have gone down significantly, however the city struggles with issues of discrimination in lower class neighborhoods compared to the higher class.
In Florida, those who advocate the ordinance say that younger people deserve a second chance. Between 2010 and 2014, more than more than 7,500 cases in the county involved possession of 20 grams of marijuana or less. In 90 percent of these cases, the person ended up in jail. This law will change that. Although marijuana reform continues to be a hard hitting topic increasing in support, many are concerned about the potential harm.
Addiction is a concern for many and if your substance abuse is becoming unmanageable, you should seek treatment, regardless of whether your drug of choice is legal or not. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Shernide Delva
As green as Colorado is known to be, it looks like their marijuana crops are not as green as one would hope.Recent studies reveal that Colorado’s marijuana crops have “dangerous levels” of pesticides and the news is inciting panic among people and the state’s agricultural agencies.
According to last week’s CNN report, at least one legal over-the-counter pot product tested positive for illegally high levels of the neurotoxin imidacloprid. The news of the pesticides led to a recall of 2,362 pot products.
Unfortunately, this is not the first study to find toxins in marijuana products. Just last September, a study from the Denver Post found that the marijuana products they tested contained six times the legal amount of pesticides in consumable products.
To put it in perspective, if the same amount of pesticides were found on a food product like avocados, they would be immediately pulled off the shelves. However, since Colorado only recently legalized marijuana, they are still figuring out how to deal with these types of issues.
Since marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, there is no FDA regulation to step in and correct the issue leaving pesticide legislation up to the states. This lack of government oversight leads to confusion on the quantities of pesticides that should be allowed in marijuana products.
The Ever-Changing Cannabis Laws
The marijuana businesses in Colorado are not required to test products for pesticides before they sell them. They also do not have to test products before making them available for sale. Instead, consumers and businesses must exercise extreme caution before selling and consuming unregulated products. Various state agencies are hoping to remedy this problem.
As for now, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper just issued an executive order earlier this month allowing state agencies the authority to pull products off the shelves and destroy them if they contain higher than the approved levels of pesticides.
“When a pesticide is applied to a crop in a manner that is inconsistent with the pesticide’s label, and the crop is contaminated by that pesticide, it constitutes a threat to the public safety,” the order said.
The Denver Post reported that Colorado is also working to pass a legislation preventing illegal pesticides from being used in the first place. Legislator is working to pass rules that would limit the amount of pesticides used in marijuana that are approved for consumption. The goal is that eventually marijuana will be used safely in greenhouses and will be safer for human consumption. Until then, Colorado cannabis lover must remember to proceed with caution.
With the news of pesticides in marijuana products, it is important to know the environmental impacts of marijuana farms. We have discussed in detail how marijuana farms are causing serious damage to the environment in areas like California. In California, run-off from marijuana farms get into the water and causes damage to the ecosystem. Also, since marijuana requires high amount of water to grow successfully, California is facing a major water shortage and marijuana farms are part of the problem.
The fact that marijuana is only legal on a state by state basis makes the process of establishing clear procedures difficult since regulations are not able to be considered on a federal level. In states where marijuana is legal, businesses have to rely on cash-only transactions as they are unable to use federal banking systems.
Overall, the issue of marijuana reform is an increasingly complex issue and in the future, solutions to the problems of legalization will be addressed. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
-Author: Shernide Delva