#NORML #News
Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 20 Feb 2018 04:20:21 PST

Study: Cannabis Use Not Significantly Associated With Increased Traffic Accident Risk

Bucharest, Romania: Cannabis exposure is not strongly associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle accident, according to a meta-analysis of 24 epidemiological studies published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.

Investigators at the University of Bucharest, Department of Medicine and Pharmacy reviewed data from two-dozen studies assessing the association between cannabis-positive drivers and unfavorable traffic outcomes, such as motor vehicle collision, injury, or death.

Authors concluded: "Our analysis suggest that the overall effect size of DUIC (driving under the influence of cannabis) on UTEs (unfavorable traffic events) is not statistically significant."

Researchers also questioned the validity of imposing strict liability standards upon motorists who test positive for past cannabis exposure, such as by the presence of THC in their blood. "Simply identifying cannabis use in a driver is not enough to justify the assumption of an increased risk for UTEs," they concluded. "When such a result is obtained, it should be corroborated with either quantitative data regarding cannabis use, or a clinical assessment of the driver, before establishing his (or her) fitness to drive."

NORML has long opposed the imposition of THC per se standards, which criminalize the act of driving with detectable levels of THC or cannabis-specific metabolites in a subject's blood or urine, because the presence of such compounds is not consistently associated with either recent drug ingestion or psychomotor impairment.

Full text of the study, "The association of unfavorable traffic events and cannabis usage: A meta-analysis," appears in Frontiers in Pharmacology.

Latest Fox News Poll Finds Record Support In Favor Of Legalization

New York, NY: Fifty-nine percent of voters believe the adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to nationwide polling data compiled by Fox News. The percentage marks an eight-point percentage increase since 2015, and is the highest level of support ever reported by the media agency.

Majorities of Democrats (68 percent) and Independents (67 percent) back legalization, but only 46 percent of Republicans endorse reform.

The Fox News results are similar to those of other recent national polls. An October 2017 Gallup poll reported that 64 percent of the public, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, agree that cannabis use should be legal, the highest percentage ever reported by the polling firm. A January 2018 Pew poll determined that 61 percent of Americans back legalization, the highest support level ever reported by the institute.

Seattle: City Officials Back Plan To Vacate Past Marijuana Convictions

Seattle, WA: City officials have announced their intentions to vacate the criminal convictions of minor marijuana possession offenders. The city's mayor and city attorney announced the plan last Thursday.

Stated Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan: "[T]his action is a necessary first step in righting the wrongs of the past and putting our progressive values into action. ... Our action will affect people who had been convicted of offenses for conduct that is now legal under state law. People won't have to take any actions like hiring a lawyer or going to a court hearing. ... I hope these actions we're taking here in Seattle can lay the foundation for other cities, counties and states to act, too."

The announcement comes just days after San Francisco's District Attorney's office similarly pledged to review, dismiss, and seal past misdemeanor marijuana convictions. In Los Angeles county, the Board of Supervisors are similarly debating ways to facilitate the expungement process. Legislation to enact an automatic expungement policy statewide is pending in the California state assembly. Several other states, including Vermont and New Hampshire, are considering similar legislative efforts.

Federal Judge Hears Legal Arguments In Lawsuit Challenging Marijuana's Schedule I Status

New York, NY: A judge for the Federal District Court in Manhattan heard arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by a legal team including New York attorney Michael Hiller, NORML Legal Committee member Joseph Bondy and Empire State NORML Director David Holland, challenging the constitutionality of federal cannabis prohibition.

The 98-page complaint contends that the federal government "does not believe, and upon information and belief never has believed" that cannabis meets the requirements for a Schedule I designation under the Controlled Substances Act. It further argues that current administrative mechanisms in place to allow for the reconsideration of cannabis Schedule I classification are "illusory."

A judge for the Federal District Court in Sacramento heard similar arguments in a 2014 legal challenge, also spearheaded by members of the NORML Legal Committee, but ultimately rejected them - opining: "At some point in time, a court may decide this status to be unconstitutional. But this is not the court and not the time."

Plaintiffs in the current lawsuit include a former NFL football player, a disabled military veteran, two children with severe movement disorders, and the non-profit group, the Cannabis Cultural Association. Plaintiffs argue that federal prohibition violates their civil and constitutional liberties, including their right to freely travel within the United States. They also argue that the federal prohibition of cannabis is "grounded in discrimination and [is] applied in a discriminatory manner."

Lawyers for the Justice Department argued on Wednesday for a dismissal of the suit, opining: "There is no fundamental right to use marijuana, for medical purposes or otherwise. Because such a right is not 'implicit in the concept of ordered liberty' or 'deeply rooted in this Nation's history,' the Court should reject such a claim." The judge in the case failed to immediately rule on the government's motion.

Full text of the complaint, Washington et al. v. Sessions et al., is available online.

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