AAA Calls For Ending Driving THC Limits
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — Six states that allow marijuana use have THC limits to determine driving while impaired by the drug that have no scientific basis, according to a study by the nation’s largest automobile club that calls for scrapping those laws. The study commissioned by AAA’s safety foundation said it’s not possible to set a blood-test threshold for THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes people high, that can reliably determine impairment. Yet the laws in five of the six states automatically presume a driver guilty if that person tests higher than the limit, and not guilty if it’s lower. As a result, drivers who are unsafe may be going free while others may be wrongly convicted, the foundation said. The foundation recommends replacing the laws with ones that rely on specially trained police officers to determine if a driver is impaired, backed up by a test for the presence of THC rather than a specific threshold.
SEATTLE, Washington (AP) – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue a ruling soon on the scope of the law that could pave the way to end or overturn at least six federal marijuana criminal prosecutions and convictions in California and Washington, and limit future prosecutions of medical marijuana users and dispensaries in eight Western states that allow them. At issue is a Congressional amendment that said the DOJ could not use funding Congress allocated to it for 2015 and 2016 to prevent states that have legalized medical marijuana from implementing laws that permit its use, distribution and possession. The DOJ has interpreted the law more narrowly, saying it prevents prosecutors from trying to block state medical marijuana laws or charging state officials who implement them, yet permits U.S. attorneys to go after marijuana dispensaries and growers.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio House has passed a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in the state. The bill would bar patients from smoking the substance but allow them to use it in vapor form. Under the legislation, a nine-member Medical Marijuana Control Commission would set rules for cultivating, distributing and licensing cannabis. Communities could opt out of hosting dispensaries. Employers who want to maintain drug-free workplaces would be protected from liability. The bill passed on a 70-25 vote Tuesday. The Senate plans to begin hearings on the measure Wednesday. Lawmakers are seeking to head off a proposed November ballot issue supported by the national medical marijuana movement.
ORLANDO, Florida (CRN) – Orlando has become the latest city in Florida to embrace marijuana decriminalization. By a 4-3 vote the Orlando City Council approved the measure that will allow local police to charge those possessing 20 grams of marijuana or less with a civil citation of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second, and $500 for subsequent offenses. Orlando joins the cities of Miami Beach, Hallandale Beach, Key West, West Palm Beach, Wilton Manors, and Tampa; as well as Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Volusia counties in decriminalizing marijuana possession.
DENVER, Colorado (CRN) – The children of a woman slain by her husband following consumption of marijuana edibles has filed a first-of-its-kind wrongful death lawsuit. Kristine Kirk, 44, was shot by her husband Richard, as she had called 911 to report her husband acting psychotically. Their three sons were in the home at the time and their guardians, the maternal grandparents, have filed the lawsuit against the edible manufacturer and the retail distributor, alleging they failed to warn the husband, Richard, of the hallucinatory and psychotic side effects of cannabis use. A half-eaten 10 milligram THC edible was found in the home after the shooting. Richard Kirk is facing first degree murder charges, to which he has changed his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (CRN) – Libertarian presidential hopeful Gov. Gary Johnson says that marijuana legalization will reduce substance abuse overall in America. Speaking to CNN, Johnson said, “On the medicinal side, marijuana products directly compete with legal prescription drugs that statistically kill 100,000 people a year. And on the recreational side, I have always maintained that legalizing marijuana will lead to less overall substance abuse.” Johnson was the Libertarian Party’s 2012 nominee and winner of 1 percent of the national vote. He believes also that voter discontent with Republicans and Democrats, which may both nominate historically-unfavorable candidates in Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, will lead to a boost for his Libertarian candidacy.