Cannitrol – Cannabis Control Agent

Marijuana news from around the world


Marijuana arrests are way down — but Black Coloradans are still twice as likely to get busted for pot, new report says

Seven years after the first recreational pot shops opened for business in Colorado, youth aren’t smoking more weed, older adults are blazing more and marijuana-related arrests are way down — but Black Coloradans are still much more likely to get in trouble for cannabis offenses, according to a state report released Monday.

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Report: California needs to better track and test drugged drivers

Nearly five years after California voters legalized cannabis, a new state report is recommending a series of changes to better track and test for drivers impaired by marijuana and other drugs. Those recommendations from the California Highway Patrol’s Impaired Driving Task Force are expected to trigger a series of new and revived bills in the […]


Recent California conviction of stoned driver shows potentially deadly consequences of driving high

While alcohol-related DUIs remain far more common, this past week a case involving a motorist prosecutors say was solely under the influence of marijuana provided a stark example of the danger of driving while stoned.

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Risk of stoned driver crashes grows as legal marijuana spreads across U.S., according to study

As the push to legalize marijuana gains momentum, so is evidence that more permissive policies on the drug are putting motorists at risk.

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New Study Says There Is No Scientific Basis For Current Marijuana DUI Laws

Currently, six of the states that have legalized marijuana in some fashion use threshold-based blood tests to determine whether or not a driver is under the influence. Blood tests are these states’ primary tool in prosecuting marijuana-related DUI charges. The American Automobile Association, better known as AAA, just released findings from a new study. Researchers […]

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The cannabis plant is consumable in many forms.  One of the most storied and controversial preparations of marijuana is hashish.  Hashish is a compressed and purified form of the resin that grows in the trichomes of the cannabis plant.  Historically, bud harvests were pressed between palms or other plant leaves until all excess plant matter, save the resin, was rubbed away.  This left a much finer substance, varying in consistency from fine powder to a paste of oily substance.  The final product has a much higher cannabinoid content than regular bud clippings.  Today, there are numerous ways of preparing hash, from mechanical tumblers, to ice baths, chemical separation treatments, and even vacuum distillation.  This can result in powdered hash, hard blocks, nuggets of goo (for lack of a better description), or even a resiny oil, often called “honey oil”.  These preparations can range from 30-90% in THC content, as opposed to untreated buds (up 27% THC).  Although, as marijuana research and development has progressed, growers are now using high CBD strains to produce hashish that offers medical benefits to a greater diversity of patients.

Though hashish has been found frequently in historic sites throughout the Near East, Middle East and Indian subcontinent, many historical sources tie the name “hashish” to the word assassin and the story of al-Hassan bin al-Sabbah, a warlord from the mountainous region south of the Caspian Sea.  In a nutshell, Hassan used hashish preparations in training and maintaining the loyalty of his warriors, often sent out to kill (assassinate) his enemies.  This story came to the West, compliments of Marco Polo’s travels in the late 13th Century.  This is the most accepted tale, but many scholars refute this story’s accuracy.  From the 13th through 18th centuries, the use and spread of hashish stayed mostly in the East.  But in the late 1700’s it began to spread West as Napoleon’s conquests into Egypt exposed his troops to it.  Despite his prohibition, use of hashish continued and expanded, finding its way to the New World.
By the start of the 20th century hashish production and trade was widespread, with centers in the Middle East, Chinese Turkestan, and on the Greek/Turkish borders.  However, as time marched on, many laws prohibiting hashish production and trade were passed across the world.  As quickly as it had risen to prominence, it was quickly blacklisted.  Today it can be found, in many places but is still castigated in others. In Amsterdam (home of the Ice-olater production method), many kinds of hash can be found, or in India and Nepal as “charas.”  In California, Colorado, and other compassionate use states, it can be found at dispensaries. And these cultivators are some of the pioneers pushing the strains in new directions to help benefit patients whose afflictions leave them with few treatments.

On the other end of the spectrum, Oklahoma recently passed a bill including sentencing for anywhere from two years to life for production, sales or distribution of hashish.  House Bill 1798 names a mandatory 2-year minimum sentence, as a felony, for first time convictions.  Subsequent offenders face sentences without leniency or parole to a lifetime sentence.  This is a newly-minted law for a cannabis-based product, not heroin, crack or cocaine (although those laws are just as strict).  By the way, Oklahoma and Colorado share approximately 100 miles of border.  At the same time, Colorado is looking into DUI laws for cannabis.  This may not be welcome news to most patients, but it is a key part of regulation and acceptance.  Most people rail against sobriety check points (for alcohol), but they deter drunk driving and therefore save lives. Hopefully Colorado’s legislators will spend time to review the science behind the detection of cannabis in the body. It is not as simple as a test as for alcohol inebriation.

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Colorado Lawmakers Appear set to Enact Marijuana DUI Law

colorado general assembly

As the discussion of medical and legalized cannabis continues, our focus is often on why the federal government has stubbornly not made any changes to marijuana law.  Surely, if they could just move marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule II substance, then the debate would be over.  While many of us wish that were the situation, it may not be quite that simple.  Many legal analysts feel that authorities are unsure of how to enforce “smoking and driving” limits.

So far there has not been any uniform way to determine if drivers are fit to drive after marijuana use.  One key point is that because of tolerance and other issues, cannabis does not impact everyone in the same manor.  Colorado lawmakers have passed a bill that will set parameters for how much THC a driver can have in their system.  This bill would set the legal limit at 5 nanograms of THC in order to legally be able to operate a moving vehicle.  The vote was close and only passed by a slim 18-17 margin.  The bill will now face the state senate but is expected to pass there as well by a wider margin.   Those who passed the bill are not necessarily advocates of marijuana.  The deciding vote was cast by state Republican Sen. Nancy Spence who said “I’m just sick of the abuse that the state of Colorado has taken from the medical marijuana industry.”  However, we must question if the tides have turned when staunch opponents have accepted that medical marijuana is here to stay and would rather regulate the industry instead of eradicating it.

One major problem, as it always has been when conceiving of the “one size fits all” marijuana test, is that marijuana is fat soluble and will remain in the blood long after the effects of THC are felt.  As Colorado state Democrat Pat Steadman put it, “Some of these people wake up in the morning and roll out of bed at 5 nanograms.”  If any common sense goes into these laws (our hopes should not get too high for that considering the decades long war on drugs and information suppression on marijuana) then officers will use a series of tests to determine a drivers competency.  In DWI stops an officer typically analyzes the condition of a driver by other methods such as walking a straight line and hand/eye coordination tests before making them submit to a breathalyzer.

This law may not be ideal but the issue of “drugged driving” will always stand in the way of marijuana reform unless it is properly dealt with.  Marijuana DUI laws will hopefully evolve and perhaps even more reliable tests will be utilized in determining and individuals capacity to operate a motor vehicle.  In fact they will likely HAVE to evolve, because as the law stands (5 nanograms is considered a very low amount) anyone who uses marijuana may be prevented from driving legally.  Perhaps insurance and automaker lobbyists will be on the marijuana activist’s side.  In any case, we have accepted that politicians are not equipped with the foresight to legislate in the modern world so, for now the hope may have to be a law that can be tailored in the future.  Additionally, there are studies that show that legal medical marijuana states have experienced a decrease in fatal car accidents, likely due to less alcohol related incidents.  Of course other studies show marijuana increasing the risk for fatal car crashes even if overall accidents are down.  Because of this, a continuing conversation on marijuana and the dangers associated with driving needs to unfold.  However, without this first important step, marijuana reform will likely remain in the legal stalemate it currently suffers from.

As with many social issues that are on the political fringe, change occurs behind smoke and mirrors.  The White House has made it a point to urge states to enact drugged driving programs.  Additionally, President Barack Obama said he could only enforce the laws on the books and placed some blame on Congress in his recent Rolling Stone interview.  While none of this guarantees legalized federal marijuana laws, he may be setting the groundwork for a massive system addressing one of the biggest concerns of those in opposition to marijuana reform.

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