Marijuana and driving: Arizona ruling about inactive THC and Colorado proposal

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In a post published earlier today, marijuana attorney Rob Corry argued against a bill to set a THC driving standard, noting, among other things, that pot's markers linger in a user's system far longer than alcohol even when the individual is sober. But the law doesn't always recognize these differences, as seen in an Arizona court ruling. It establishes that people there can be found guilty of driving under the influence whether they're impaired or not.

As noted by Phillip Smith in a post written for his website StopTheDrugWar.org, the Arizona Court of Appeals was asked to weigh in on a case involving Hrach Shilgevorkyan, who was pulled over in December 2010 for speeding and unsafe lane usage. According to the Court of Appeals opinion, issued last week and on view below in its entirety, Shilgevorkyan subsequently consented to a blood test that showed an eight nanogram-per-blood-milliliter concentration of Carboxy-Tetrahyrocannabinol, or Carboxy-THC.

hdnet thc driving.JPG
An HDNet drugged-driving test.
Note that the Colorado proposal related to driving under the influence of drugs would set a five nanogram THC standard.

The deputy who stopped Shilgevorkyan subsequently filed an Arizona traffic ticket charging him with two counts of driving under the influence, referencing a state statute that makes it "unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle" while there is a banned drug or "its metabolite" in its system.

Shilgevorkyan moved to dismiss the complaint, because Carboxy-THC is marijuana's inactive ingredient, as differentiated by Hydroxy-Tetrahyrocannabinol, or Hydroxy-THC, the metabolite that would indicate impairment. As such, he maintained, the presence of Carboxy-THC didn't prove he was impaired.

A superior court judge agreed, in part because of what he saw as ambiguity in the statute over whether the phrase "its metabolite" was singular or plural. After determining singularity made the most sense, the judge ruled that prosecutors hadn't shown "the legislature necessarily intended to include all possible derivatives of drugs -- particularly inactive end products that no longer affect an individual."

Sound logical? Not to the appeals court, which determined that the legislature "intended to create a 'per se prohibition' and a 'flat ban on driving with any proscribed drugs in one's system." Hence, the ban should be applied to "all substances, whether capable of causing impairment or not."

In other words, Shilgevorkyan should have been considered guilty of driving under the influence of drugs even if said drugs didn't actually influence his driving. Catch-22, anyone?

Continue for more about the Arizona ruling, including the complete opinion.



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31 comments
lochlannmatt
lochlannmatt

Michigan ruled the opposite....metabolites levels mean nothing.

Wendy Dennie
Wendy Dennie

Shocker, not. Gotta find a way to keep their big business of imprisoning American people going.

Jacob Ryan
Jacob Ryan

lol Stephan, did you even read the article....dumbass. Other than that, AZ is just all fucked up. I disagree

Brad Kinney
Brad Kinney

no stephen the "same" doesnt happen w alcohol compared to cannabis... And u sir need to get over it.... Facts are fatcs and the govt has no right to control the people in such a way... I think u, and the dems and reps need to get over it.. Change is here and no one is taking no for an answer 78 years worth of lying and deception is why.... Cannabis does NOT impair the ability to drive... Prove to me where it does??? U cannot... And yet i can prove to you because we have years worth of research to prove it... Alsohol and cannabis are not even close to the "same" ...And if someone is given a dui for that... That is a crime.. Its a false charge and that ... IS illegal....

Lisa Hill
Lisa Hill

No per se. Jury trial. Jury nullification.

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

Typical fake conservative bullshit. What happened to "small government and individual freedom?"

Jared Bella
Jared Bella

I don't agree, alcohol has a very different affect than cannabis, the "same thing" never happens. As this article states cannabis use leaves end product compounds that do not affect a person's physical state of sobriety.

Stephan Reuchlein
Stephan Reuchlein

The same thing happens with alcohol, get over it. There needs to be some standard.

Brad Kinney
Brad Kinney

no loss , no harm, no damage... NO CRIME !!!!!

Brad Kinney
Brad Kinney

because politicians and doctors are so afraid of the truth that theyll do anything to salvage their own demise... who cares what a "ruling says" corpus dilecti frees you...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 *** Marijuana Task Force: Pot Should be in Child-Proof Packages ***

Which also means the packages would also be Stoner proof !!

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22667136/colorado-task-force-says-marijuana-should-be-child

Under proposals endorsed Monday by the state's Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, marijuana products would have to be sold in child-proof packaging and not contain any logos or ingredients designed solely to appeal to children. They could not be mixed with nicotine.


Recreational pot shops could only sell marijuana and marijuana-related items, like pipes. They could not advertise anywhere kids would likely see their ads, such as television, radio, billboards or general-distribution newspapers. And recreational marijuana stores would not be able to make any health claims about their products.

Bend Over and Get REGULATED! ... suckers!

Monkey
Monkey

Just so the road trippers know, Utah has a zero tolerance per se drugged driving law for cannabis, cannabis metabolites, and all controlled substances.  Any person who drives a motor vehicle on the roads of Utah is considered to have given his or her consent to a chemical test of their breath, blood, urine or oral fluids for the purpose of determining if they have a measurable amount of a controlled substance or metabolite in their body. Intoxication is not an element of this offense. Utah's law calls for mandatory imprisonment of 48 hours and not more than 6 months upon conviction for a first offense.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Being that the Idiots who wrote, promoted and voted for the festering turd hat is A64 explicitly declared that DUI-marijuana shall remain illegal -- and forever enshrined that into the CONSTITUTION -- WITHOUT setting ANY objective standards or limits -- it will no doubt be determined that the intent of A64 was to BAN ALL driving while under ANY influence of marijuana.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Wendy Dennie ... fortunately for the Prison Industrial Complex and Law Enforcement profiteers A64 ensured that when it declared that DUI-marijuana shall remain illegal ... without setting any objective or reasonable standards for it.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Lisa Hill ... because Juries never convict drivers of DUI, eh?


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Tim Tindle ... stupid stoners voted for Big Government REGULATION with A64.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Brad Kinney ... not in the U$A !!!

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Monkey The first thing you do is not consent. They can "assume" consent, but you don't have a contract with them if you don't have Utah DL or registration.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey  ... and to think that 45% of the U$A wanted a Mormon to be President ...

... many because they hate Obama's marijuana policies ... LOL!


barbarian.bob1
barbarian.bob1

@DonkeyHotay wrong. it will be determined in Supreme court not by your ilk . no doubt well all get stoned drive than laff at monkey at  lolol

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident @Monkey 

... as soon as you DRIVE on public roadways in Utah -- or any state -- your "contract" with them is IMPLIED ...

... hence the phrase "Implied Consent".


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... more of your Liberkookian delusions.

There is no RIGHT to drive a motor vehicle on the Public Roadways ... especially while INTOXICATED.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... most states have some type of Implied Consent for their DUI laws.

Your legal delusions notwithstanding.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotayBy the way: "Under the Driver License Compact, in order for a driver's state to penalize him/her for an out-of-state offense, the driver's state must have the equivalent statute. If the driver's state does not have the statute, no action can be taken."

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

IN THAT STATE. Period.

Obvious exceptions are when you commit a crime, which gives them PC for search.

Agreements between states are not the same as agreements between people and states. If it were, I could force the state of Kansas or Missouri (or Utah) to honor the contract I have with the state of Colorado, recognizing my medicine. In fact, the USC contract clause *may* imply that, depending on reciprocating agreements states have.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  ... you can always refuse, and you'll receive the FULL PENALTY of said refusal, which is suspension / revocation of any driving privileges in that State ... and subsequent suspension / revocation of same privileges in your HOME state if they are a member of the Interstate  Driver License Compact ... 45 states are members, only 5 are not.

%s


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident @Monkey Nope. Sorry. Wrong. To be specific, it constitutes a 4th amendment search, requiring a warrant from a judge. I you live in the state you're stopped in, you probably agreed to waive this on registering for a drivers' license.

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