Top

blog

Stories

 

THC driving impairment varies widely in upcoming HDNet World Report test

Thumbnail image for smoking driving.jpg
Update below: HB 1261, a bill to set THC driving standards, was put on hold by the Senate judiciary committee last month only to be revived and fast-tracked late in the legislative session. But it died in a Senate vote due in part to the enormous variations in the way marijuana affects different people. And an upcoming report for HDNet World Report is expected to reinforce this argument.

Dennis O'Brien, Denver-based executive producer of World Report, read with interest our post revealing that Westword medical marijuana critic William Breathes's blood test was nearly triple the proposed 5 nanogram per milliliter of blood standard even when he was sober. But O'Brien and his team didn't set out to duplicate this approach for a story currently scheduled to appear on May 17; check local listings for HDNet, which is available on Comcast HD, DIRECTV and Dish Network.

Thumbnail image for Breathes.Blood.JPG
William Breathes's blood draw.
Instead, O'Brien explains, "we tested four people who use medical marijuana for various reasons by putting them in a driving simulator. We did a baseline test of reaction times, then tested them again after they had taken a typical dose of medicinal marijuana."

Mark Ashby, a former law-enforcement pro with experience in recognizing signs of driving impairment, observed the tests. The results?

"We found varying levels of impairment," O'Brien says. "Some drove perfectly well, while one person got into a quote-unquote accident. So there was quite a range even in our small sample."

O'Brien stresses that the experiment "wasn't a scientific test -- it was more of an anecdotal version of a scientific test." However, the HDNet crew used two men and two women of different sizes, ages and typical MMJ consumption to broaden the test's scope.

To O'Brien, the findings "weren't as obvious as you would expect to find if you had four people who were intoxicated with alcohol, where across the board you would have similar reactions. Our admittedly limited sampling seemed to support the idea that people respond to marijuana differently and there's not one way people drive while quote-unquote high."

senator morgan carroll.jpg
Senator Morgan Carroll.
Senator Morgan Carroll, chairwoman of the Senate judiciary committee that argued for more study of the THC driving limits bill, said much the same thing in an interview prior to HB 1261's death. "With alcohol, the metabolism issues are so well understood that you can give people a rule of thumb -- you shouldn't have more than one drink every x-hour if you're male or female," she noted. "And the members of judiciary kept asking people if there's a way a medical marijuana patient can tell how long after what kind of dosing they'll be okay to drive, and no one can answer that." As such, she concluded that setting a bright-line standard for THC intoxication "isn't ready for prime time."

As for O'Brien, he says, "All of us know by now people who use medicinal marijuana for very good reasons, so in no way do we want to denigrate people's medicinal needs" with the upcoming HDNet story. "And that's not the debate we're interested in getting into. But I think there are some fascinating questions both in Colorado and other states that have approved medicinal marijuana, whether it has to do with the federal-state relationship and enforcement, whether it has to do with the proliferation of clinics, or whether it has to do with the definition of driving impairment. These are just some of the unintended consequences of medicinal marijuana law."

Update, 1:32 p.m.: Here's a video preview of the report.

More from our Marijuana archive: "THC driving limits could cause more innocent people to spend months in jail, attorney says."

My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
nazmunnaher
nazmunnaher

We have recently begun to accept new members for 2011-2012 and walk-ins are always welcome.We have lowered our pricing and now offer a 10% discount for Veterans & Students (with valid ID) and HIV & Cancer patients.(All our TOP SHELF 1/8’s are capped at $40).Since opening our doors in 2009 our Denver dispensary has stood by our product and offered a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. http://www.tgtree.com 

Robert
Robert

FLASH:  Hickenmoron cites very few specifics about 'his' legislative agenda for next year in this month's interview on CPR (there is some expectation that the Governor would eventually have one), but he does opine that there should be a per se limit for THC --see: http://www.cpr.org/#load_artic...|Gov_John_Hickenlooper_May_2001

Dan Maes would have been far more entertaining and could hardly have been any more clueless than the present occupant of the office.

Robert
Robert

FLASH:  In his interview with CPR, Hickenmoron cites very few specifics about 'his' legislative agenda for next year (there is some expectation that the Governor would eventually come up with one), but he does opine that there should be a per se limit for THC -- see: http://www.cpr.org/#load_artic...|Gov_John_Hickenlooper_May_2001.  Dan Maes would have been far more entertaining and could hardly have been any more clueless than the present occupant of the office.

Misterpeach
Misterpeach

Let's do the Stoned Driving Rodeo! I think that stoned drivers can actually out-perform straight drivers, in head to head competition.

Stoned drivers drive straighter than straight people!!!

Oo
Oo

I was hitting a pipe in the rain yesterday while being cut off by some high school kid managed to swerve out of his way finish hitting my pipe and I didnt even beep my horn. This is a daily operation, can I log 8 years of preventing accidents while high? I wish...

Ihitman68
Ihitman68

So now all of the lawyers who are FOR the MMJ movement have made all the money on both sides. Representing patients and dispensaries when they get busted, pushing for legitimacy,  and then collecting fees for MMC license filing when the regulations they were supposedly against went through. Shame On you Rob Correy and the others. The lawyers and dispensaries have ruined it for the rest of us with their greed! Well done douchebags!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Looks like Senator Carroll is on her way to opening Colorado's first stoned driving school, simulators and all!

Robert
Robert

I have failed to write to Senator Carroll to thank her for her conduct of the hearing before the Judiciary Committee on HB11-1261 and her vote against it, so I take this opportunity to do so publicly.  Without her courageous objectivity on this bill, we would have lost.  The prohibitionists will try to push this ugly nonsense again next year, and many legislators will vote for it automatically (because they suppose their constituents would like it, and because they themselves are uninterested in and incapable of understanding the science of the debate).  This said, Senator Carroll joined all but one Senator in supporting the Caregiver Registration Bill (HB11-1043), in which the State (in effect) offers to tell the DEA where every caregiver in Colorado cultivates cannabis -- since the USDOI has stated that anyone other than "seriously ill patients" is at risk of prosecution under the CSA, caregivers have been put directly at risk (although MMCs will very likely head the DEA's list when they raid in Colorado).

Shame on Colorado's General Assembly of Snitches (CGAS) -- people who vote to betray caregivers by directly incriminating them for the Federal government are no better than the parasites in the DEA -- the CGAS does not represent anyone who uses cannabis in Colorado!

TooSmart4TheirOwnGood
TooSmart4TheirOwnGood

Nobody needs cannabis re-scheduled, we need it removed from the schedule. What people forget is if it becomes a schedule II or III drug it enters the realm of the pharmaceutic companies, the last thing anyone wants is to give them a way to make more money off of people's suffering.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Maybe HDNet will do a follow-up. Thanks, Misterpeach.

Robert
Robert

Great -- come down to the Capitol next year and meet a bunch of people in suits (who make our laws) who think you're crazy.  The science is equivocal, and many legislators (a majority of the House) believe that the State must react to a non-existent threat.  We need constituents to contact their State Representative and Senator to find out how they stand, and educate them or depose them.

Robert
Robert

There is a conflict of interest in representing MMCs and fighting the unconstitutional provisions in State law, but I think that you are blowing it somewhat out of proportion.  Rob has taken an absolutely consistent line against these provisions.  Other attorneys are more compromised and have even supported the CGAS' unconstitutional meddling in medical marijuana.  It is not reasonable to expect any attorney singlehandedly to overturn SB10-109, HB10-1284, and HB11-1043, and the MMCs, not perceiving it to be in their economic interests, have not mounted a systematic challenge.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

 Agreed, this shit is going to happen again next session with the hopes that we will give ground on THC DUI's, we can't allow this no matter how high of a number they come out with as they would still have the right to take your blood with a number just to make it easier to prosecute you. 

Also the closer we get to July 1st the closer we are to having city located DEA information centers in the guise of the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division.  As we are making public pronouncements I would like to say to all the Patients, Caregivers, MMC, Dispensaries and anyone concerned about the constitution in Colorado, "It's been a fun run, thanks for being silent and willfully following along with rules intended to put you out of business, because it "legitimizes" the industry and please don't drop the soap if your the lucky one that gets busted by the feds."

seabourne
seabourne

While I do agree with you 100% this is Congress we are talking about. Sadly they are most unlikely to simply take something from Schedule1 to uncontrolled in one step. The progress of change has been in baby steps and this would be a major step in change. At least it would offer the medicinal use of cannabis to the rest of the nation, and permit studies to be done with something other than the low-grade government stock. There are many researchers still applying for studies, though cannabis has been studied more than any other substance known to man. Personally, I believe enough studies have been done to warrant it as an uncontrolled substance and respect the fact it is less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. I hope you would consider signing the petition and making the same comment there and on the emails sent to your representatives. Anyone needing to understand medicinal use/the endo-cannabinoid system or the adverse effect of prohibition check out http://activistcat.com/

Robert
Robert

Dispensaries willingly threw over their constitutional protections for the imaginary legitimacy conferred by compliance with Romer's "robust regulatory model" -- besides trampling our Constitution into the mire, the conclusion that the Federal government's tentative and highly equivocal change in policy on enforcement of the CSA in states with laws allowing the medical use of cannabis (embodied in the Ogden Memorandum) somehow permitted Colorado to license and profit from the operation of medical cannabis dispensaries was legally daft.  In the wake of the USDOI's reversal of policy of Feb. 1, Colorado's foolish insistence on heavy State regulation of dispensaries puts them directly in the line of fire in the War on Americans and threatens patients' access.  Patients who can should seek a relationship with a caregiver courageous enough to serve them without regard for the contemptible and unconstitutional, attempted interference of the CGAS.

Guest
Guest

 Ohhh.... scary......

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

 Oh shit, sorry I was thinking about something else when I posted.  What I should have said was that the state and federal government have nothing but our best interests in mind when it comes to Cannabis. They are activity trying to help this industry, just ask all the people formerly employed at MMC's, and they would never harm or go after growers, just ask Chris Bartkowitz, and they would never try to go after sick patients, unless they were driving in a car or around a school or were not what the state would constitute sick enough.  Thank your god that we have the full support of the federal and state government or what I said before may come true. Because many were active in creating our government as we see it and stopping the shitty HB-1261 from becoming law there isone less thing we have to worry about.  So yes, if you just believe these bill are going to pass, it is scary but there is much courage in standing up and participating in democracy.

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...