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Victims of Drugged Drivers Take Issue with Proposed Marijuana-Impaired Driving Levels

Advocacy Groups Propose More Stringent Two-Tiered Approach Popular in Europe

The Canadian Government has promised that its C-46 bill to strengthen impaired driving laws will protect Canadians from drug impaired drivers after marijuana’s legalization. But an opposition brief filed today by DUID Victim Voices with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Parliament disagrees. The thoroughly-documented brief says C-46 is fundamentally flawed and threatens to make matters worse for victims of impaired driving. “Proper justice for DUID victims is not possible when perpetrators are not found guilty of driving under the influence and thus sentenced to a lesser crime,” says Ed Wood, founder of DUID Victim Voices.

C-46 seeks to establish per se levels for drugs based upon a belief that the same kind of per se levels that have been successful in dealing with alcohol-impaired driving can also work with drugs. That belief cannot be supported by any scientific studies. In particular, marijuana is so unlike alcohol chemically, biologically and metabolically, that the brief warns it is irrational to use a prescribed per se level for marijuana’s ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

DUID Victim Voices, an advocacy group for the victims of drug impaired driving, proposes that the bill be rewritten to support a tandem per se approach which is based on scientific research. “Adoption of defined drug per se levels that cannot be scientifically supported not only can also prevent victims of impaired driving from seeing justice, it also threatens public credibility and acceptance of the law,” Wood explains.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana of Canada is also supportive of the brief. “We endorse this rejection of Bill C-46. Survey data shows that young Canadians are not cognizant of the risk of driving impaired by marijuana. The country needs a massive public education program, which could take 15 years like the one for drunk driving awareness.” adds Pamela McColl of SAM Canada.

Alcohol per se levels work reasonably well where alcohol is the only impairing substance due to the following facts. Unfortunately, these facts are also unique to alcohol, don’t always apply to other drugs, and don’t apply at all to marijuana’s THC.

  1. Alcohol leaves the body linearly and at a slow and predictable rate, but:

On average, the maximum blood THC level is decreased by 73% from its peak level within 25 minutes of beginning to smoke a joint. The median time between a crash and taking a driver’s blood sample is two hours, so laboratory tests tell us nothing about the blood THC level at the time of the crash.

  1. Levels of alcohol in blood are similar to levels in the brain, but:

Marijuana’s THC is fat-soluble. It is very rapidly absorbed from the blood by highly perfused fatty tissues like the brain, heart, liver and lungs. Consequently, blood levels of THC tell us nothing about the levels of THC in the brain, which is the only place that really matters when trying to evaluate impairment. THC can even be found in the brain when none can be detected in blood.

  1. Blood levels of alcohol correlate very well with measured levels of impairment, but:

Laboratory blood levels of THC do not correlate at all with either brain levels of THC or impairment measurements.  A recent American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety report concluded, “A quantitative threshold for per se laws for THC following cannabis use cannot be scientifically supported.”

drug-impaired-driversBecause THC is so quickly redistributed from the blood to the brain and other organs, the majority of stoned drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs test below current proposed per se levels and would therefore escape OWI per se prosecution.

Having most stoned drivers escape prosecution may be an acceptable social policy for non-consequential OWI arrests, but many OWI cases involve death or serious bodily injuries.  Permitting the majority of those cases to escape prosecution is a miscarriage of justice that should not be tolerated.

Rather than a defined per se limit, DUID Victim Voices suggests that “tandem per se” be used to prove the crime of OWI per se. Using this approach, a person would be guilty of OWI per se under the following sequence of conditions:

  • The driver was arrested by an officer who had probable cause, based on the driver’s demeanor, behavior and observable impairment to believe that the driver was impaired; and
  • Proof that the driver had any amount of an impairing substance in his/her blood, oral fluid, or breath.

The tandem per se approach is consistent with the recommendation of the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety. It is similar to two-tier systems in place in Germany, France, Belgium and Finland.

DUID Victim Voices represents the interests of the victims of drugged driving, providing fact-based education and a victim perspective to decision makers and to the general public. Visit the website, duidvictimvoices.org. Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada is a bipartisan alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy. Visit learnaboutsam.ca  to learn more.

Calaveras County Suffering with Illegal Pot Grows

My name is Bill McManus and I have been battling pot in Calaveras County for over three years.  I am a ZERO TOLERANCE activist to rid our county of all commercial cultivation of pot.  I know we have to deal with PROP 64 (California’s Recreational Pot Initiative which passed 11/16), but even that law allows for banning outdoor grows based on a county’s jurisdiction to regulate land use.

(Please join those trying to Save Calaveras County.     Here is a previous article on the problems and the crime.)

I have seen this criminal enterprise up close and personal.  Hundreds, if not thousands of residents are considering leaving our county because of the abuse of the pot cartels.  I myself have been assaulted twice and had both of my vehicles vandalized.  One thing is crystal clear, if you allow any of it, you get all of it and according to the latest info from Central Valley HIDTA, Calaveras county is rivaling the Emerald Triangle for illegal pot production.

Crime Went Way Up!

In the last two years, crime has gone up 400%.  The District Attorney is handling 18 marijuana-related murders in our county, a county with only 45,000 residents!  

negatives-marijuana-legalizationOur small county has somewhere between 1500 and 2000 illegal grows.  We have had human trafficking problems, illegal timber harvests, illegal grading, illegal stream diversions, water theft, destroyed rural roads from water trucks hauling stolen water out to pot grows, one family in the Federal Witness Protection Program because the husband serviced porta potties at a pot grow………the list goes on and on.

If you want to see the ugly side of the pot cartels, give me a call. I will show you what is going on and introduce you to people who are afraid to leave their homes because of nearby pot grows.  Identified cartels in this county include, Hmongs, Motorcycle gangs from the valley, Mexican mafia, Russian mafia, Jamaican Cartels, Asian cartels, and refugee cartels from the Emerald Triangle.  BAN it, BAN it all.  If even one hair’s breadth of opening is given to them, you will LOSE the battle, your lifestyles, your security in your home, and all sense of community.

Grab a flak vest and come visit Calaveras County. By the way, county Code Compliance officials are not allowed to enter any pot grow without a sheriff escort……what about the citizens who remain behind after the inspections?

Check out our website www.bancommercialcultivation.com

Bill McManus, Chair – The Committee to Ban Commercial Cultivation

PS: don’t contact me regarding compromise……the IS the hill I will die on.   Join the team on our Facebook page: Ban Commercial Cultivation

Confessions of a former marijuana user

Page Johnson’s Testimony

When I was using medicinal grade marijuana from dispensaries, I defended the drug vigorously–even though I knew it was negatively impacting my quality of life. Though I could still function, and my productivity was not significantly impacted, my ability to fluidly process information and communicate slowed.

I developed rings under my eyes, my eyes were always dry, my heart frequently palpitated out of sync, and most importantly I showed signs of pre-psychosis such as mania (getting over-the-top hyped about various ideas), paranoia (I feared a home invasion and went crazy with security measures), and my mind was often saturated with morbid thoughts (which I fixated on and couldn’t shake for days at a time). What kind of thoughts? Dark thoughts that became so frequent that I actually begin to think I might be going crazy.

While this was happening I was on social media defending the drug against critics, sharing its many medicinal benefits, and downplaying its dangers by comparing it to alcohol and tobacco.

marijuana-testimonyI was rolling along in that state of dishonesty and hypocrisy when suddenly my cousin, a lifelong marijuana user, shot himself to death, leaving behind a beautiful family, a successful business, and a trail of pain and sorrow. I quit cold turkey when I learned that a psychologist had previously told him to stop using marijuana because it was causing psychosis.

After I quit, my health and outlook improved dramatically within days. I then began researching the relationship between marijuana and psychotic episodes and was astounded by what I found. I am now standing firmly against marijuana and doing everything I can to make people aware of its dangers. Thanks for reading. Feel free to share my story. It might save someone’s life.

Shared by Page Johnson

Butane Hash Oil Fires Don’t End with Legalization

BHO Labs are a By-Product of Increased Access to the Drug

On November 9, 2016, in California, three men in Humboldt County celebrated their marijuana freedom by extracting BHO from marijuana. On the first day pot was 100% legal in California, their actions sparked a fire. Helicopters airlifted the injured men to UC Davis Hospital because their burns were so extensive.

A similar fire on January 14, 2017, totaled a home near Arcata in Humboldt County, injuring two people. It was the 4th fire in the county since legalization.

 

BHO or butane hash oil, which Californians call “honey oil” is a highly potent extract of the marijuana plant. Using highly flammable butane, amateurs extract the oil which can produce the strongest, most immediate high. Pot advocates claim that dangerous BHO fires are a by-product of “prohibition,” but they didn’t start happening until 2011, a good 15 years after so-called “medical” marijuana was legalized in 1996 by California. In 2009, medical marijuana dispensaries proliferated, and in 2010, the first BHO lab was discovered. By 2011, 8 illegal BHO labs were discovered, 3 of which exploded. In 2012, authorities uncovered 20 BHO labs, 16 of which had fires. In 2013, authorities found 68 BHO labs and 38 of them went up in flames. Nine people died from these BHO Labs in California that year.

In Washington, marijuana was legal — but not yet commercial – in 2013. A huge blast rocked an apartment complex in Bellevue. The BHO fire sparked huge flames and completely damaged two 12-unit apartment buildings. One hundred fire fighters and police spent 7 hours putting out the flames, in November, 2013. Neighbors jumped from the 2nd and 3rd floors. One elderly woman died from an injury sustained while fleeing from the fire.

The state did not take action, federal authorities needed to step in and establish that operating hash oil labs constituted reckless endangerment to human life. (Those responsible for the Bellevue fire and others convicted.) Today, both California and Colorado have laws making BHO manufacture in a residential setting a felony.

Worst Year for Fire and Death in 2014

In 2014, 32 people died in California from these explosions. In 2011, there were 5 explosions from butane extractions in California. The illegal practice grew until 2014, when 232 hash oil labs were discovered in California and 102 of them exploded. The state legislature then passed a law making the illegal manufacture of marijuana into hash oil a felony. If operating near a school or home with children, these crimes are now considered “aggravated felonies.”

BHO labs fired up Colorado in 2014, with 32 explosions that year. The marijuana advocates argued that Amendment 64 made home processing of BHO legal. Attorney General John Suthers disagreed, and the courts upheld that making BHO without a license is illegal. Yet, the explosions continue in Colorado.

People blow up cars, homes, apartments, and even hotels. Visitors to a motel near Sea World in San Diego were shocked to be forced out of their lodging because of an explosion in January, 2014.

In an explosion in Rancho Cordova, California in January 2014, 146 people in an apartment complex were displaced. In Walnut Creek, California, on Halloween, 2014, an entire 8-unit apartment building went up in flames and all residents were displaced. A fire in Redding, California that year also left multiple families homeless.

In 2015, there were at least five hash oil fires in Butte and Shasta Counties. Seven children and five adults were at home during one of these fires. In another huge fire in Redding in 2015, residents of 12 units were evacuated as a result of the massive explosion.

Click here to see KRCR TV coverage of a Shasta Apartment Fire

The Explosions Continue in Washington and Oregon

On October 18, a man running a hash oil lab in Bellingham suffered from severe burns. No one else was hurt, but the fire displaced four residents living in two units downstairs. It will take several months before the damages can be repaired.

On August 19, a man who caused a BHO fire in Spokane was so critically injured he was transported across the state to a Seattle hospital.

The fire near Seattle’s SeaTac airport last March 21st occurred in a house next door to a day care center. No children were there at the time, but it was a close call.

In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown signed a law in 2016 making unlicensed production of marijuana extracts a felony. The bill was intended to target homemade butane hash oil setups. However, the fires are still taking place.

A butane operation caused a trailer fire in December in Springfield. In October, a blast rocked a legal marijuana business in Astoria. Two people were sent two people to Legacy Oregon Burn Center. A BHO-related explosion destroyed a Medford home last August.

The next time someone says that Prohibition causes these explosions, please recognize that this is propaganda not truth.