Tag Archives: Paul Armentano

Marijuana News

Drug Dogs More Likely To ‘False Report’ When Their Handlers Believe Contraband Is Present

February 10, 2011 – Sacramento, CA, USA

Sacramento, CA: The performance of drug-sniffing dogs is significantly influenced by whether or not their handlers believe illicit substances are present, according to a study published in the January issue of the journal Animal Cognition.

Investigators at the University of California at Davis assessed the accuracy of 18 drug and/or explosive detection dog/handler teams in a four-room church. No drugs or target scents were present in any of the rooms, but handlers were falsely told that contraband was present in two of the rooms, each marked by a piece of red construction paper.

Authors reported 225 incorrect responses overall, but found that dogs were more likely to provide false alerts in rooms where their handlers believed that illicit substances were present.

Handlers‘ beliefs that scent was present potentiated handler identification of detection dog alerts,” investigators concluded. “This confirms that handler beliefs affect outcomes of scent detection dog deployments.”

The study’s authors speculated that the high rate of false alerts is because the dogs respond to subtle visual cues from their handlers.

“Dogs are exceptionally keen at interpreting subtle cues, so handlers need to be cognizant of that to optimize the overall team performance,” co-author Anita Oberbauer stated in a press release.

In 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Illinois v. Caballes that an alert from a police dog during a traffic stop provides a constitutional basis for law enforcement to search the interior of the vehicle.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director or Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at: (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, “Handler beliefs affect scent detection dog outcomes,” is available online at:http://www.springerlink.com/content/j477277481125291/.

updated: Feb 10, 2011

A Headline You Will Never See For Cannabis

Mon, 14 Feb 2011 22:25:34  By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

From Reuters News Wire:

Alcohol kills more than AIDS, TB or violence
Drinking causes more than 4 percent of deaths worldwide, WHO warnsAlcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence, the World Health Organization warned on Friday.… Yet alcohol control policies are weak and remain a low priority for most governments despite drinking’s heavy toll on society from road accidents, violence, disease, child neglect and job absenteeism, it said.Approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes, the WHO said in its “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health.”“The harmful use of alcohol is especially fatal for younger age groups and alcohol is the world’s leading risk factor for death among males aged 15-59,” the report found.… Alcohol is a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries, according to WHO’s first report on alcohol since 2004.Its consumption has been linked to cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, poisonings, road traffic accidents, violence, and several types of cancer, including cancers of the colorectum, breast, larynx and liver

Of course the reason we see these startling links between alcohol consumption and disease is because ethanol, the psychoactive compound in alcohol, and acetaldehyde (what ethanol is converted to after ingestion), pose toxic risks to health cells and organs. By contrast, marijuana’s active compounds — the cannabinoids — pose little comparable risk to healthy cells and organs, and are incapable of causing fatal overdose.So answer me again: Why do we celebrate consumers and manufacturers of alcohol while we simultaneously targetarrest, prosecute, and incarcerate consumers and producers of a far safer substance?Isn’t it time to visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ and ask your elected officials that same question?


Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Now Say They Support Marijuana Legalization

This study is part of what encouraged me to support Prop 19 in the fall. Things are changing as more people become educated about the truth of Canabis (E)

October 29th, 2010 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

The latest national poll numbers from Gallup, which has been tracking public opinion on cannabis legalization since the late 1960s, shows that Americans’ support for ‘making marijuana legal’ is now at its highest reported level of support ever.

New High of 46% of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana
Liberals, 18- to 29-year-olds express the highest levels of support
via Gallup.com

While California’s marijuana ballot initiative is garnering a lot of attention this election cycle, Gallup finds that nationally, a new high of 46% of Americans are in favor of legalizing use of the drug, and a new low of 50% are opposed. The increase in support this year from 44% in 2009 is … a continuation of the upward trend seen since 2000.

These results are from Gallup’s annual Crime poll, conducted Oct. 7-10. Approximately 8 in 10 Americans were opposed to legalizing marijuana when Gallup began asking about it in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Support for legalizing the drug jumped to 31% in 2000 after holding in the 25% range from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.

Political Leanings, Age Divide Americans’ Support for Legalizing Marijuana

Across numerous subgroups, liberals’ support, at 72%, is by far the highest. There is widespread support for legalization among 18- to 29-year-olds (61%) as well.
Majority support is also found among Democrats, independents, men, and political moderates.

A large majority of those living in the West, which encompasses California, are in favor of making the drug legal. Support is significantly lower in the South and Midwest.

Political conservatives and Republicans are the least supportive of legalizing marijuana. Seniors express a similarly low level of support.

Women are 10 percentage points less likely than men to favor legalizing the drug.

These demographic, political, and ideological differences in support are much the same as they were in 2009.

Bottom Line

Support for making the drug legal in general, however, is growing among Americans. The public is almost evenly split this year, with 46% in favor and 50% opposed. If the trend of the past decade continues at a similar pace, majority support could be a reality within the next few years.

The latest Gallup numbers reinforce the question: ‘If a government’s legitimate use of state power is based on the consent of the governed, then at what point does marijuana prohibition — in particular the federal enforcement of prohibition — become illegitimate public policy?’ It’s time for our elected officials to answer.

 


‘Gold Standard’ Studies Show That Inhaled Marijuana Is Medically Safe And Effective

State-Funded Clinical Trials Show Cannabis Eases Neuropathic Pain And Spasticity, Landmark Report Says

February 18, 2010 – Sacramento, CA, USA

Sacramento, CA: The results of a series of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials assessing the efficacy of inhaled marijuana consistently show that cannabis holds therapeutic value comparable to conventional medications, according to the findings of a 24-page report issued Wednesday to the California state legislature by the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR).

Four of the five placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that marijuana significantly alleviated neuropathy, a difficult to treat type of pain resulting from nerve damage.

“There is good evidence now that cannabinoids (the active compounds in the marijuana plant) may be either an adjunct or a first-line treatment for … neuropathy,” said Dr. Igor Grant, Director of the CMCR, at a news conference at the state Capitol. He added that the efficacy of smoked marijuana was “very consistent,” and that its pain-relieving effects were “comparable to the better existing treatments” presently available by prescription.

A fifth study showed that smoked cannabis reduced the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. A separate study conducted by the CMCR established that the vaporization of cannabis – a process that heats the substance to a temperature where active cannabinoid vapors form, but below the point of combustion – is a “safe and effective” delivery mode for patients who desire the rapid onset of action associated with inhalation while avoiding the respiratory risks of smoking.

Two additional clinical trials remain ongoing.

The CMCR program was founded in 2000 following an $8.7 million appropriation from the California state legislature. The studies are some of the first placebo-controlled clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis as a medicine to take place in over two decades.

Placebo-controlled clinical crossover trials are considered to be the ‘gold standard’ method for assessing the efficacy of drugs under the US FDA-approval process.

“These scientists created an unparalleled program of systematic research, focused on science-based answers rather than political or social beliefs,” said former California Senator John Vasconcellos, who sponsored the legislation in 1999 to launch the CMCR. Vasconcellos called the studies’ design “state of art,” and suggested that the CMCR’s findings “ought to settle the issue” of whether or not medical marijuana is a safe and effective medical treatment for patients.

“This (report) confirms all of the anecdotal evidence – how lives have been saved and pain has been eased,” said California Democrat Sen. Mark Leno at the press conference. “Now we have the science to prove it.”

Full text of the CMCR’s report to the California legislature is available at online at: http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/CMCR_REPORT_FEB17.pdf.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org, or Dale Gieringer, California NORML Coordinator, at:http://www.canorml.org or (415) 563-5858.

updated: Feb 18, 2010



Cannabis and Driving

A Scientific and Rational Review

By Paul Armentano

Policy debates regarding marijuana law reform invariably raise the question: “How does society address concerns regarding pot use and driving?” The subject is worthy of serious discussion. NORML’s Board of Directors addressed this issue by ratifying a “no driving” clause to the organization’s “Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use”1 stating, “Although cannabis is said by most experts to be safer with motorists than alcohol and many prescription drugs, responsible cannabis consumers never operate motor vehicles in an impaired condition.”

Nevertheless, questions remain regarding the degree to which smoking cannabis impairs actual driving performance. Unlike alcohol, which is known to increase drivers’ risk-taking behavior and is a primary contributor in on-road accidents, marijuana’s impact on psychomotor skills is subtle and its real-world impact in automobile crashes is conflicting.

Drugged Driving: True Threat Or False Panic?

Survey data indicates that approximately 112 million Americans (46 percent of the US population) have experimented with the use of illicit substances.2 Of these, more than 20 million (8.3 percent of the population) self-identify as “current” or “monthly” users of illicit drugs,3 and more than 10 million Americans say that they’ve operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of an illicit substance in the past year.4 These totals, while far from negligible, suggest that the prevalence of illicit drug use among US drivers is far less than the prevalence of alcohol among this same population.5

To date, “[The] role of drugs as a causal factor in traffic crashes involving drug-positive drivers is still not well understood.”6 While some studies have indicated that illicit drug use is associated with an increased risk of accident, a relationship has not been established regarding the use of psychoactive substances and crash severity.7 Drivers under the influence of illicit drugs do experience an enhanced fatality risk compared to sober drivers. However, this risk is approximately three times lower than the fatality risk associated with drivers who operate a vehicle above or near the legal limit for alcohol intoxication.8 According to one recent review: “The risk of all drug-positive drivers compared to drug-free drivers is similar to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%. The risk is also similar to drivers above age 60 compared to younger drivers [around age 35].”9

Marijuana is the most common illicit substance consumed by motorists who report driving after drug use.10 Epidemiological research also indicates that cannabis is the most prevalent illicit drug detected in fatally injured drivers and motor vehicle crash victims.11 Reasons for this are twofold. One, pot is by far the most widely used illicit drug among the US population, with nearly one out of two Americans admitting having tried it.12 Two, marijuana is the most readily detectable illicit drug in toxicological tests. Marijuana’s primary psychoactive compound, THC, may be detected in blood for several hours, and in some extreme cases days after past use,13 long after any impairing effects have worn off. In addition, non-psychoactive byproducts of cannabis, known as metabolites, may be detected in the urine of regular users for days or weeks after past use.14 (Other common drugs of abuse, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, do not possess such long half-lives.) Therefore, pot’s prevalence in toxicological evaluations of US drivers does not necessarily indicate that it is a frequent or significant causal factor in auto accidents. Rather, its prevalence affirms that cannabis remains far more popular and is far more easily detectable on drug screening tests than other controlled substances.

Cruising On Cannabis: Clarifying The Debate

While it is well established that alcohol consumption increases accident risk, evidence of marijuana’s culpability in on-road driving accidents and injury is far less clear. Although acute cannabis intoxication following smoking has been shown to mildly impair psychomotor skills, this impairment is seldom severe or long lasting.15 In closed course and driving simulator studies, marijuana’s acute effects on psychomotor performance include minor impairments in tracking (eye movement control) and reaction time, as well as variation in lateral positioning, headway (drivers under the influence of cannabis tend to follow less closely to the vehicle in front of them), and speed (drivers tend to decrease speed following cannabis inhalation).16 In general, these variations in driving behavior are noticeably less consistent or pronounced than the impairments exhibited by subjects under the influence of alcohol.17 Also, unlike subjects impaired by alcohol, individuals under the influence of cannabis tend to be aware of their impairment and try to compensate for it accordingly, either by driving more cautiously18 or by expressing an unwillingness to drive altogether.19

As a result, cannabis-induced variations in performance do not appear to play a significant role in on-road traffic accidents when THC levels in a driver’s blood are low and/or cannabis is not consumed in combination with alcohol.2021 For example, a 1992 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration review of the role of drug use in fatal accidents reported, “There was no indication that cannabis itself was a cause of fatal crashes” among drivers who tested positive for the presence of the drug.22 A more recent assessment by Blows and colleagues noted that self-reported recent use of cannabis (within three hours of driving) was not significantly associated with car crash injury after investigators controlled for specific cofounders (e.g., seat-belt use, sleepiness, etc.)23 A 2004 observational case control study published in the journal Accident, Analysis and Prevention reported that only drivers under the influence of alcohol or benzodiazepines experience an increased crash risk compared to drug-free controls. Investigators did observe increased risks – though they were not statistically significant – among drivers using amphetamines, cocaine and opiates, but found, “No increased risk for road trauma was found for drivers exposed to cannabis.”24

A handful of more recent studies have noted a positive association between very recent cannabis exposure and a gradually increased risk of vehicle accident. Typically, these studies reveal that drivers who possess THC/blood concentrations above 5ng/ml – implying cannabis inhalation within the past 1-3 hours25-26 – experience an elevated risk of accident compared to drug-free controls.27-28 (Motorists who test positive for the presence of THC in the blood at concentrations below this threshold typically do not have an increased risk compared to controls.29) However, this elevated risk is below the risk presented by drivers who have consumed even small quantities of alcohol.

Two recent case-controlled studies have assessed this risk in detail. A 2007 case-control study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health reviewed 10-years of US auto-fatality data. Investigators found that US drivers with blood alcohol levels of 0.05% – a level well below the legal limit for intoxication – were three times as likely to have engaged in unsafe driving activities prior to a fatal crash as compared to individuals who tested positive for marijuana.30 A 2005 review of auto accident fatality data from France showed similar results, finding that drivers who tested positive for any amount of alcohol had a four times greater risk of having a fatal accident than did drivers who tested positive for marijuana in their blood.31 In the latter study, even drivers with low levels of alcohol present in their blood (below 0.05%) experienced a greater elevated risk as compared to drivers who tested positive for high concentrations of cannabis (above 5ng/ml). Both studies noted that overall few traffic accidents appeared to be attributed to driver’s operating a vehicle while impaired by cannabis.

Defining A Rational ‘Drugged Driving’ Policy

The above review illustrates the need for further education and understanding regarding the effects of cannabis upon driving behavior. While pot’s adverse impact on psychomotor skills is less severe than the effects of alcohol, driving under the acute influence of cannabis still may pose an elevated risk of accident in certain situations. However, because marijuana’s psychomotor impairment is subtle and short-lived, consumers can greatly reduce this risk by refraining from driving for a period of several hours following their cannabis use.

By contrast, motorists should never be encouraged to operate a vehicle while smoking cannabis. Drivers should also be advised that engaging in the simultaneous use of both cannabis and alcohol can significantly increase their risk of accident compared to the consumption of either substance alone.32-33 Past use of cannabis, as defined by the detection of inactive cannabis metabolites in the urine of drivers, is not associated with an increased accident risk.34

Educational or public service campaigns targeting drugged driving behavior should particularly be aimed toward the younger driving population age 16 to 25 – as this group is most likely use cannabis35 and report having operated a motor vehicle shortly after consuming pot.36 In addition, this population may have less driving experience, may be more prone to engage in risk-taking behavior, and may be more naïve to pot’s psychoactive effects than older, more experienced populations. This population also reports a greater likelihood for having driven after using cannabis in combinations with other illicit drugs or alcohol.37 Such an educational campaign38 was recently launched nationwide in Canada by the Canadian Public Health Association and could readily be replicated in the United States. Arguably, such a campaign would enjoy enhanced credibility if coordinated by a private public health association or traffic safety organization, such as the American Public Health Association or the AAA Automobile Club, as opposed to the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy – whose previous public service campaigns have demonstrated limited influence among younger audiences.39

Finally, increased efforts should be made within the law enforcement community to train officers and DREs (drug recognition experts) to better identify drivers who may be operating a vehicle while impaired by marijuana. In Australia, efforts have been made to adapt elements of the roadside Standardized Field Sobriety Test to make it sensitive to drivers who may be under the influence of cannabis. Scientific evaluations of these tests have shown that subjects’ performance on the modified SFSTs may be positively associated with dose-related levels of marijuana impairment.40 Similarly, clinical testing for cannabis impairment among suspected drugged drivers in Norway has been positively associated with identifying drivers with THC/blood concentrations above 3ng/ml.41

Though the development of such cannabis-specific impairment testing is still in its infancy, an argument may be made for the provisional use of such tests by specially trained members of law enforcement. In addition, the development of cannabis-sensitive technology to rapidly identify the presence of THC in drivers, such as a roadside saliva test, would provide utility to law enforcement in their efforts to better identify intoxicated drivers. The development of such technology would also increase public support for the taxation and regulation of cannabis by helping to assuage concerns that liberalizing marijuana policies could potentially lead to an increase in incidences of drugged driving.42 Such concerns are a significant impediment to the enactment of marijuana law reform, and must be sufficiently addressed before a majority of the public will embrace any public policy that proposes regulating adult cannabis use like alcohol.

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML and the NORML Foundation. Mr. Armentano is an expert in the field of marijuana policy, health, and pharmacology. He has spoken at numerous national conferences and legal seminars, testified before several state legislatures and federal bodies, and assisted dozens of criminal defense attorneys in cases pertaining to the use of medicinal cannabis and drugged driving. He has attended various international conferences on the subject of cannabis and psychomotor impairment, including those sponsored by the Society of Forensic Toxicologists (SOFT) and the The International Council on Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety (ICADTS), and coordinated lobbying efforts to successfully liberalize so-called ‘zero tolerant’ drugged driving laws in Virginia and Ohio. He is the author of the 2006 cover story, “Cannabis and Zero Tolerance Per Se DUID Legislation: A Special (and Problematic) Case,” for Florida Defender, the journal of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. (FACDL). He may be contacted via e-mail at: paul@norml.org.

Footnotes

1 Adopted by NORML’s Board of Directors, February 3, 1996. Read all of NORML’s “Principles of Responsible Use

2 US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Drug and Crime Facts: Drug Use Among the General Population. Online document accessed November 24, 2007.

3 US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance and Mental Health Services Association, Office of Applied Studies. 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Results. Online document accessed November 24, 2007.

4 Ibid.

5 US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. State of Knowledge of Drugged Driving: FINAL REPORT. September 2003.

6 Ibid.

7 Smink et al. 2005. Drug use and the severity of traffic accident. Accident, Analysis and Prevention 37: 427-433.

8 Franjo Grotenhermen. Drugs and Driving: Review for the National Treatment Agency, UK. Nova-Institut (Germany). November 2007.

9 Ibid.

10 US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance and Mental Health Services Association, Office of Applied Studies. Driving After Drug or Alcohol Use, 1998. Online document accessed November 24, 2007.

11 US Department of Transportation. 2003. op. cit.

12 October 23-24, 2002 CNN/Time poll conducted by Harris Interactive.

13 Skopp et al. 2003. Serum cannabinoid levels 24 to 48 hours after cannabis smoking. Archives of Criminology (Germany) 212: 83-95.

14 Paul Cary. 2005. The marijuana detection window: Determining the length of time cannabinoids will remain detectable in urine following smoking. Drug Court Review 5: 23-58.

15 According to the US Department of Transportation, 2003. op. cit., “Experimental research on the effects of cannabis … indicat[e] that any effects … dissipate quickly after one hour.”

16 Grotenhermen. 2007. op. cit. and US Department of Transportation. 2003. op. cit. Other summaries include: Ramaekers et al. 2006. Cognition and motor control as a function of Delta-9-THC concentration in serum and oral fluid: Limits of impairment. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 85: 114-122; David Hadorn. “A Review of Cannabis and Driving Skills,” In: The Medicinal Uses of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. (eds: Guy et al). Pharmaceutical Press, 2004; Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, Cannabis: Summary Report: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy. 2002. (See specifically: Chapter 8: “Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis”); Alison Smiley. “Marijuana: On-Road and Driving-Simulator Studies,” In: The Health Effects of Cannabis. (eds. Kalant et al) Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 1999.

17 David Hadorn. 2004. op. cit. and US Department of Transportation. 2003. op. cit.

18 According to the US Department of Transportation, 2003. op. cit., “The extensive studies by Robbe and O’Hanlon (1993), revealed that under the influence of marijuana, drivers are aware of their impairment, and when the experimental task allows it, they tend to actually decrease speed, avoid passing other cars, and reduce other risk-taking behaviors.”

19 Menetrey et al. 2005. Assessment of driving capability through the use of clinical and psychomotor tests in relation to blood cannabinoid levels following oral administration of 20mg dronabinol or of a cannabis decoction made with 20 and 60mg delta-9-THC. Journal of Analytical Toxicology 29: 327-338.

20 United Kingdom Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, Road Safety Division Cannabis and Driving: A Review of the Literature and Commentary. Online document accessed November 24, 2007. “Overall, we conclude that the weight of the evidence indicates that … there is no evidence that consumption of cannabis alone increases the risk of culpability for traffic crash fatalities or injuries for which hospitalization occurs, and may reduce those risks.”

21 Gregory Chesher and Marie Longo. “Cannabis and Alcohol in Motor Vehicle Accidents,” In: Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential. (eds. Grotenhermen et al.) Haworth Press, 2002.

22 US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Incidence and Role of Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers: Final Report. October 1992.

23 Blows et al. 2004. Marijuana use and car crash injury. Addiction 100: 605-611.

24 Movig et al. 2004. Psychoactive substance use and the risk of motor vehicle accidents. Accident Analysis and Prevention 36: 631-636.

25 Huestis et al. 1992. Blood cannabinoids: Absorption of THC and formation of 11-OH-THC and THCCOOH during and after smoking marijuana. Journal of Analytical Toxicology 16: 276-282.

26 Mushoff et al. 2006. Review of biologic matrices (urine, blood, hair) as indicators of recent or ongoing cannabis use. Therapeutic Drug Monitor 2: 155-163.

27 Drummer et al. 2004. The involvement of drugs in drivers killed in Australian road traffic crashes. Accident, Analysis and Prevention 36: 239-248.

28 Grotenhermen et al. 2007. Developing per se limits for driving under cannabis. Addiction (E-pub ahead of print).

29 Grotenhermen. 2007. op. cit.

30 Bedard et al. 2007. The impact of cannabis on driving. Canadian Journal of Public Health 98: 6-11.

31 Laumon et al. 2005. Cannabis intoxication and fatal road crashes in France: a population base case-control study. British Medical Journal 331: 1371-1377.

32 Ramaekers et al. 2004. Dose related risk of motor vehicle crashes after cannabis use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 73: 109-119. “Experimental studies have shown alcohol and THC combined can produce severe performance impairment even when given at low doses. The combined effect of alcohol and cannabis on performance and crash risk appeared additive in nature, i.e. the effects of alcohol and cannabis combined were always comparable to the sum of the effects of alcohol and THC when given alone.”

33 Williams et al. 1985. Drugs in fatally injured young male drivers. Public Health Reports 1: 19-26.

34 Ramaekers et al. 2004. op. cit.

35 US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. op. cit.

36 US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance and Mental Health Services Association, Office of Applied Studies. 1998. op. cit.

37 Ibid.

38 Canadian Public Health Association. “The Pot and Driving Campaign.”

39 US Government Accountability Office. ONDCP Media Campaign: Contractor’s National Evaluation Did Not Find that the Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Was Effective in Reducing Youth Drug Use: Report to the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate. August 25, 2006.

40 Papafotiou et al. 2005. An evaluation of the sensitivity of the Standardised Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) to detect impairment due to marijuana intoxication. Psychopharmacology 180: 107-114.

41 Khiabani et al. 2006. Relationship between THC concentration in blood and impairment in apprehended drivers. Traffic Injury Prevention 7: 111-116.

42 Looby et al. 2007. Roadside sobriety tests and attitudes toward a regulated cannabis market. Harm Reduction Journal. Online document accessed November 24, 2007.



California: Study Say Blacks Disproportionately Arrested For Minor Marijuana Crimes

Yet another reason why legalization is necessary (E)

Fri, 22 Oct 2010 14:29:35  By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

From 2006 to 2008, African Americans were arrested for marijuana possession offenses in California’s 25 largest cities at at four, five, six, seven and even twelve times the rate of whites, according to a report released today by researchers at the Queens College, City University of New York and Shenandoah University in Virginia.

Among some of the California cities profiled:

* The City of Los Angeles, with ten percent of California’s population, arrested blacks for marijuana possession at seven times the rate of whites.

* San Diego, the second largest city in California, arrested blacks for marijuana possession at nearly six times the rate of whites.

* In Pasadena, blacks are 11% of the population but 49% of the people arrested for marijuana possession. Pasadena arrested blacks at twelve and a half times the rate of whites.

* In Sacramento, the state capitol, blacks are 14% of the city’s population but more than 51% of all the people arrested for possessing marijuana.

* San Jose, the third largest city in California, is only 2.9% African American. But San Jose arrested blacks for marijuana possession at more than five times the rate of whites. San Jose arrested 619 blacks per 100,000 blacks compared to 121 whites per 100,000 whites.

* The City of Torrance, with a population of 140,000, had the highest racial disparity of the 25 cities. Blacks are only 2% of the population but they made up almost 24% of the people arrested for marijuana possession. Torrance arrested blacks at over thirteen times the rate for whites.

These racially-biased marijuana arrests were a system-wide phenomenon, occurring in every county and nearly every police department in California,” the report states. “The substantial disparities in marijuana possession arrest rates of whites and blacks cannot be explained by their patterns of marijuana use. … U.S. government studies consistently find that young blacks use marijuana at lower rates than young whites.”

From 1990 through 2009, police departments in California made 850,000 criminal prosecutions for possessing small amounts of marijuana, and half a million marijuana possession prosecutions in the last ten years, the report found.

Today’s report is a follow up to a June 2010 study commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance which determined that from 2004 through 2008, in every one of the 25 largest counties in California, African Americans were arrested for marijuana possession at double or triple the rates of whites.

Full text of today’s study, “Arresting Blacks for Marijuana in California Possession — Arrests in 25 Cities, 2006-08,” is available online here.


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