Herb Reese 
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Re: “Is the Gazette's new marijuana series a joke?

Good info Elliot, thanks.

After following your link to Boston.com, I read yet again that University of Mississippi cannabis (the only approved source for NIH studies) is of very poor quality. Apparently these joints are loaded with seeds, stems and leaves. More important, in order to standardize potency, the THC is EXTRACTED and then added back uniformly. Who knows what effect this can have, including altering or elimination of other important cannabinoids.

http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/2770.html
http://drugpolicycentral.com/bot/pg/nida_stems_n_seeds.htm

Does anyone know of more reliable sources for these claims?

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Herb Reese on 03/25/2015 at 10:52 AM

Re: “UPDATED: Gazette employees reportedly could be fired for commenting on marijuana stories

This series is written by Christine Tatum, who is staunchly anti-cannabis. They should have made this fact clear AND listed this as an opinion piece, instead they list it as news. Their headlines are as follows:

"Analyzing Colorado's grand experiment", 3/22/2015
"Addressing driver impairment difficult", 3/22/2015
"State prevention efforts criticized", 3/22/2015
"No tax windfall from medical, retail sales", 3/22/2015
"Regulation still ineffective", 3/22/2015
"Black market is thriving in Colorado", 3/23/2015
"Legalization didn’t unclog prisons", 3/23/2015
"Potency creating problems", 3/23/2015
"Tough task for law enforcement", 3/23/2015
"Authorities alarmed over increase in hash oil explosions", 3/23/2015
"Teen: Colorado voters were duped into legalizing recreational marijuana", 3/24/2015
"Concerns over adolescents’ use", 3/24/2015
"Babies, children at risk", 3/24/2015
"Drug use a problem for employers", 3/24/2015

I wouldn't exactly call this piece objective or unbiased. It is clear that The Gazette has an anti-legalization agenda here. Every story is biased against legalization and mostly supported by groundless rhetoric and misleading information. The Gazette has undoubtedly damaged their reputation with this series (and that of journalism as a whole).

56 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Herb Reese on 03/24/2015 at 3:36 PM

Re: “Is the Gazette's new marijuana series a joke?

Josephine SHensley:

If they do get a Pulitzer Prize for this, then the prestige of that award will be greatly diminished.

20 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Herb Reese on 03/24/2015 at 3:10 PM

Re: “Is the Gazette's new marijuana series a joke?

Ed Wood:

Testing for substances was mandatory for all crash drivers and was done 24/7. Controls had a 96.7% participation rate. Even if some controls declined participation because they were high, this would only strengthen the relative risk of DUI of cannabis, so the actual risk ratio could be less than what was reported in the study.

Driving impaired on cannabis is stupid and will remain illegal. Though lets put this into perspective and set limits appropriately. It is foolish for law enforcement to give so much attention to cannabis and driving while the elephant in the room, alcohol (especially when mixed with drugs like Xanax), causes far, far more harm on the roads.

Some studies have found drivers under the influence of cannabis to be no more culpable in crashes than drug-free drivers [Romano et al. 2014; Movig et al. 2004; Chesher & Longo. 2002; Longo et al. 2000], some have found cannabis users to be LESS culpable [Terhune. 1992]. However:

•An NIDA (who may have a bias against cannabis) government review of studies found that drivers had a two times greater risk of being in an accident after smoking cannabis (fatal and non-fatal). [Hartman and Huestis. 2013]

In comparison:

•Having two or more passengers also increases crash risk by two. [McEvoy et al. 2007]
•Speeding by 6 mph increases crash risk by FOUR times. [Kloeden et al. 1997]
•Cell phone use increases crash risk by FOUR times (fatal and non-fatal). [McEvoy et al. 2005; Redelmeier & Tibshirani. 1997; McEvoy et al. 2007]
•Texting increases crash risk by EIGHT to TWENTY-THREE times (fatal and non-fatal). [Drews et al. 2009; Olson et al. 2009]
•Tobacco smokers have a 1.5 times increase in risk for accidents over non-smokers (fatal and non-fatal). [Brison. 1990]
•Drivers with a LEGAL BAC of between 0.05% and 0.07% have a FOUR to TEN times greater risk of being in a FATAL accident. [Zador et al. 2000]
•Drivers impaired on alcohol at 0.09% BAC have more than an ELEVEN times greater risk of being in a FATAL single vehicle accident. [Zador. 1991]
•Drivers impaired on alcohol between 0.10 and 0.14% BAC have a FORTY-EIGHT times greater risk of being in a FATAL single vehicle accident. [Zador. 1991]

Driving under the influence of alcohol increases crash risk much more than cannabis:

"Although driving under the influence of marijuana can adversely affect psychomotor performance, the effect is much greater for those driving under the influence of alcohol."
Pacula et al. Developing public health regulations for marijuana: lessons from alcohol and tobacco. Am J Public Health. 2014.

Why is driving under the influence of alcohol so much more dangerous than driving under the influence of cannabis? It is most likely because of the very different behavioral effects of the two drugs. Where cannabis tends to make its users more cautious and aware of their impairment, alcohol tends to do the opposite, making people overconfident, aggressive, and wreckless. Here are two studies that allude to this:

"Alcohol impaired performance relative to placebo but subjects did not perceive it. THC did not impair driving performance yet the subjects thought it had."
Robbe and O'Hanlon. DOT HS 808 078. Marijuana and actual driving performance. U.S. Department of Transportation - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 1993.

Even very high levels of cannabis use do not impair more than alcohol at just 0.08% BAC:

"THC's effects on road-tracking after doses up to 300 µg/kg never exceeded alcohol's at bacs of 0.08%; and, were in no way unusual compared to many medicinal drugs"
"Evidence from the present and previous studies strongly suggests that alcohol encourages risky driving whereas THC encourages greater caution, at least in experiments. Another way THC seems to differ qualitatively from many other drugs is that the formers users seem better able to compensate for its adverse effects while driving under the influence."
H. Robbe. Marijuana’s effects on actual driving performance. HHMRC Road Research Unit, University of Adelaide. 1995.

It is plausible that greater cannabis use could lead to less carnage on the road. States that legalized medical cannabis actually saw an overall drop in vehicle related fatalities. They also saw a decrease in alcohol consumption:

"The first full year after coming into effect, [medical marijuana] legalization is associated with an 8 to 11 percent reduction in the fatality rate."
"We find that the legalization of medical marijuana is associated with reduced alcohol consumption, especially among young adults."
Anderson et al. Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption. Journal of Law and Economics. 2013

This study found no increase in road trauma in cannabis users. It did find benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Clonazepam, Lorazepam, etc) and legal levels of alcohol (0.50-0.79 BAC) increase odds of injury by about 5 times:

"No increased risk for road trauma was found for drivers exposed to cannabis. The study concludes that drug use, especially alcohol, benzodiazepines and multiple drug use and drug-alcohol combinations, among vehicle drivers increases the risk for a road trauma accident requiring hospitalisation"
Movig et al. Psychoactive substance use and the risk of motor vehicle accidents. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 2004.


An extensive 2013 review of 66 studies regarding crash risk and drug use found that cannabis was associated with minor, but not statistically significant increased odds of injury or fatal accident:

The estimated fatal crash odds for cannabis, 1.26, were lower than:
1.68 - Opiates
2.30 - Antianxiety meds
2.60 - Zopiclone (sleep medicine)
2.96 - Cocaine
5.17 - Amphetamines

The estimated injury odds for cannabis, 1.10, were lower than:
1.12 - Antihistamines
1.12 - Penicillin
1.17 - Antianxiety meds
1.35 - Antidepressants
1.31 - Antiasthmatics
1.42 - Zopiclone (sleep medicine)
1.66 - Cocaine
1.91 - Opiates

The study concluded: "By and large, the increase in the risk of accident involvement associated with the use of drugs must be regarded as modest. ... Compared to the huge increase in accident risk associated with alcohol, as well as the high accident rate among young drivers, the increases in risk associated with the use of drugs are surprisingly small."
Elvik R. Risk of road accident associated with the use of drugs: a systematic review and meta-analysis of evidence from epidemiological studies. Accident Analysis Prevention. 2013. Review.

Again, the case controlled study I mentioned [Compton and Berning. 2015] is the most authoritative on the subject yet, and it did not find increased crash risk from typical levels of cannabis use once adjusted for important confounders .

Regardless, increased risk of crash while DUI of a substance is not a valid reason to criminalize all adults for using said substance when not driving. Though it turns out the increased crash risk from typical levels DUI of cannabis is small, no more than that of having two or more passengers in the vehicle, possibly much less.


SOURCES:

1. Brison RJ. Risk of automobile accidents in cigarette smokers. Can J Public Health. 1990.
2. Hartman RL, Huestis MA. Cannabis effects on driving skills. Clin Chem. 2013. Review.
3. McEvoy et al. Role of mobile phones in motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital attendance: a case-crossover study. Br Med J. 2005.
4. Redelmeier DA, Tibshirani RJ. Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions. N Engl J Med. 1997.
5. Drews et al. Text messaging during simulated driving. Hum Factors. 2009.
6. Olson et al. Driver Distraction in Commercial Vehicle Operations. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Center for Truck and Bus Safety. 2009.
7. Zador et al. Relative Risk of Fatal and Crash Involvement by BAC, Age and Gender. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. April 2000.
8. Zador PL. Alcohol-related relative risk of fatal driver injuries in relation to driver age and 5ex. J Stud Alcohol. 1991.
9. McEvoy et al. The contribution of passengers versus mobile phone use to motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital attendance by the driver. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 2007.
10. Kloeden et al. Travelling speed and the risk of crash involvement. NHMRC Road Accident Research Unit. 1997.
11. Romano et al. Drugs and alcohol: their relative crash risk. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2014.
12. Movig et al. Psychoactive substance use and the risk of motor vehicle accidents. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 2004.
13. Chesher and Longo. Cannabis and alcohol in motor vehicle accidents. In: F. Grotenhermen and E. Russo (Eds.) Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential. New York: Haworth Press. 2002. Pp. 313-323.
14. Longo et al. The prevalence of alcohol, cannabinoids, benzodiazepines and stimulants amongst injured drivers and their role in driver culpability: part ii: the relationship between drug prevalence and drug concentration, and driver culpability. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 2000.
15. Terhune et al. 1992. The incidence and role of drugs in fatally injured drivers. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Report No. DOT HS 808 065.

30 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Herb Reese on 03/24/2015 at 12:27 PM

Re: “Is the Gazette's new marijuana series a joke?

How was Christine Tatum even allowed to write in the news section for this paper?

Everything on her facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/christinetatum ) is strongly anti-cannabis rhetoric, she writes:

"Medical experts warned ‪#‎Colorado‬ state lawmakers that even 1 nanogram of THC, the active ingredient in ‪#‎marijuana‬, per milliliter of whole blood could double the risk of a car accident"

THC levels can spike to over 100ng/ml when one is high. Even high drivers have not been shown to significantly increase crash risk.


Cannabis does cause some impairment, however studies have shown that consumers tend to overestimate this impairment, and that they compensate for it with added caution. Alcohol tends to do the opposite, consumers perceive their impairment to be less that what it is and often become overconfident, aggressive, and careless. [Robbe and O'Hanlon. 1993; Robbe. 1995]

In 2015 the U.S. government completed the largest case controlled study to date regarding DUI of cannabis. It involved over 9,000 cases and controls spanning a 20-month period. It found that cannabis use while driving is not associated with increased crash risk once adjusted for confounding variables such as age, race, gender, and the presence of other drugs, including alcohol:

"This analysis shows that the significant increased risk of crash involvement associated with THC and illegal drugs shown in Table 3 is not found after adjusting for these demographic variables."

Further, they found that cannabis did not add to the crash risk for drivers under the influence of alcohol:

"As was described above, there was no difference in crash risk for marijuana (THC)-positive drivers who were also positive for alcohol than for marijuana (THC)-positive drivers with no alcohol, beyond the risk attributable to alcohol."

They found that alcohol significantly increased crash risk:

"at moderate alcohol levels (0.05 BrAC) risk increases to double that of sober drivers, and at a higher level (0.10 BrAC) the risk increases to five and a half times. At a BrAC of 0.15, the risk is 12 times, and by BrACs of 0.20+ the risk is over 23 times higher."

Compton and Berning. DOT HS 812 117. Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk. U.S. Department of Transportation - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2015.

SOURCES:

--Robbe and O'Hanlon. DOT HS 808 078. Marijuana and actual driving performance. U.S. Department of Transportation - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 1993.
--Robbe H. Marijuana’s effects on actual driving performance. HHMRC Road Research Unit, University of Adelaide. 1995.

45 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Herb Reese on 03/23/2015 at 4:13 PM

Re: “Is the Gazette's new marijuana series a joke?

It is clear that The Gazette has an anti-legalization agenda here. Every story is biased against legalization supported by groundless rhetoric and misleading stats.

Analyzing Colorado's grand experiment, March 22, 2015
http://gazette.com/analyzing-colorados-grand-experiment/article/1548294


Addressing driver impairment difficult, March 22, 2015
http://gazette.com/addressing-driver-impairment-difficult/article/1548297


State prevention efforts criticized, March 22, 2015
http://gazette.com/state-prevention-efforts-criticized/article/1548298


No tax windfall from medical, retail sales, March 22, 2015
http://gazette.com/no-tax-windfall-from-medical-retail-sales/article/1548295


Regulation still ineffective, March 22, 2015
http://gazette.com/regulation-still-ineffective/article/1548296


Black market is thriving in Colorado, March 23, 2015
http://gazette.com/black-market-is-thriving-in-colorado/article/1548305


Legalization didn’t unclog prisons, March 23, 2015
http://gazette.com/legalization-didnt-unclog-prisons/article/1548308


Potency creating problems, March 23, 2015
http://gazette.com/potency-creating-problems/article/1548302


Tough task for law enforcement, March 23, 2015
http://gazette.com/tough-task-for-law-enforcement/article/1548304


Authorities alarmed over increase in hash oil explosions, March 23, 2015
http://gazette.com/authorities-alarmed-over-increase-in-hash-oil-explosions/article/1548303

43 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Herb Reese on 03/23/2015 at 4:04 PM

Re: “Marijuana: Sheriffs in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas sue Hickenlooper

The anti-cannabis sentiment among law enforcement personnel is not surprising. When asked why so many police organizations are lobbying against marijuana law reform, retired Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Downing said:

"It's money. In many states, the city government expects police to make seizures, and they expect these seizures to supplement their budgets."
"The only difference now compared to the times of alcohol prohibition is that, in the times of alcohol prohibition, law enforcement—the police and judges—got their money in brown paper bags. Today, they get their money through legitimate, systematic programs run by the federal government. That's why they’re using their lobbying organizations to fight every reform."


Legalizing cannabis would greatly cut into their income, be it from cash seizures, asset forfeitures, federal grants, etc. It would also take away a common excuse to do a warrantless search. Many cops justify their anti-cannabis stance by falling for the rampant, unfounded anti-cannabis propaganda that continues to plague this nation.

If you would like hear what honest, reasonable cops have to say about the drug war in general, please visit:

LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - http://www.leap.cc/ - 'Cops Say Legalize'

"LEAP envisions a world in which drug policies work for the benefit of society and keep our communities safer. A system of legalization and regulation will end the violence, better protect human rights, safeguard our children, reduce crime and disease, treat drug abusers as patients, reduce addiction, use tax dollars more efficiently, and restore the public’s respect and trust in law enforcement."
"LEAP’s goals are: (1) To educate the public, the media and policy makers about the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug use and the elevated crime rates more properly related to drug prohibition than to drug pharmacology and (2) To restore the public’s respect for police, which has been greatly diminished by law enforcements involvement in imposing drug prohibition."

13 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Herb Reese on 03/05/2015 at 7:40 PM

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