There was strong opposition from a group I had not expected to be against it: medical marijuana advocates. They had two interesting arguments against full legalization.
1. They believe that it is going to raise prices compared to current medical marijuana prices, and
2. They are worried that the limit it sets for blood THC levels for DUI is below the level found in the blood of medical marijuana users. Many medical users would basically be unable to legally drive. (I've read that when one is using marijuana medically, the intoxicating effects of a given dose or much lower than when it is used by a healthy person, and so medical users driving while on medical marijuana are not actually driving intoxicated, but the proposed law does not recognize the distinction).
Of course the MM industry opposes it. I-502 threatens to cost them a lot of money.
1. This seems like a specious argument. What they're opposed to is that this price increase won't be going into their pockets.
2. This is a ridiculous argument intended to rally support of stoners against I-502. See here, for instance: http://www.newapproachwa.org/sites/newapproachwa.org/files/I.... You can legally be prescribed codeine, an opiate, by a doctor and take it, but this doesn't mean you can drive while under the influence.
Here's some more information on it: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/pot-activists-vs-pot-acti...
and one more quote: "If voters pass I-502, officers would be held to the same standards as they are today: They would still require probable cause to stop a car, evidence of driver impairment, and any tests would have to be conducted by a medical professional". (http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/10/20/why-do-...)
There is no per se DUI for codeine. No one is objecting to the concept that marijuana users could get charged with a DUI if they are actually intoxicated. Rather they are against per se DUI limits, because the science shows them to be arbitrary and capricious. If the science supported per se DUI limits then I'm sure most people would support them.
I can't go to work and operate machinery drunk, high or doped up. I don't drive drunk, or high because it's irresponsible and should be a criminal act regardless of level of intoxication. DUI limits should be zero tolerance, and I can't wait for the day it is with alcohol.
All DUI limits are arbitrary. Alcoholics can drive competently well above the legal limit. People can drive competently buzzed off of weed, completely stoned. I know people who have made 5-hour drives whilst on acid.
Just because 1 person can drive drunk, doesn't mean you should allow thousands of others to as well. The limits are arbitrary because intoxication effects people differently. The only effective and rational way is to restrict driving to those who can do it competently: the sober.
I drink and I smoke weed. You won't find me driving until 12 hours after I've last consumed.
Edit: for the record, yes there is a DUI charge for opitates. It's called a DUI or DWI depending on the jargon. On top of that, they would just charge you with distracted driving or careless driving.
I think this is the appropriate stance to take with alcohol because there is lots of data establishing that driving while above .08 does have a greatly increased relative risk. With marijuana though there is lots of research, but it all shows that that drivers under the influence of marijuana are much less dangerous than drivers who are at the legal limit for alcohol.
What no one like talking about though is that if you want to really understand what's best from a public policy perspective, you need to understand that the absolute risk of driving while intoxicated is actually relatively small. If you drive 10 miles at a .08 your risk of dying would be ~1 in 4,000,000, as opposed to ~1 in 20,000,000 while completely sober. I'm certainly not advocating driving while intoxicated. But that being said, if you want to decrease your overall odds of dying then driving half as much in general would be much more effective than not driving while intoxicated once or twice a year. And similarly, good public transportation would be much more effective at reducing fatalities than harsher DUI penalties.
So far we've spent $1.5 trillion enforcing the war on drugs in the last 40 years, which combined with the lost tax revenue would be enough to build the entire nationwide high speed rail corridor roughly 3 times over. If we really want to reduce fatalities over the next 40 years, then we'd be much better taxing and regulating drugs and using the money to redesign our cities and nation around an internationally competitive public transportation system.
And at the risk of being too blunt: I'm not too concerned about drunk (or high) drivers increasing their own chances of dying. (Though, yes, if everyone drove less everyone would be less likely to die.)
Though on a policy side, I imagine it would be a lot easier to lower the limit than raise it, so I'd favor erring on the "too high" side (who wants to run up against a "HE/SHE WANTS HIGHER DRIVERS ON YOUR STREETS" campaign?).
So there are basically four ways to test for the presence of marijuana: saliva, blood, urine, and hair. Because smoked marijuana is only intoxicating for 4 - 6 hours, ideally we want to use a test that will only pop positive if someone has used the drug within the last 4 - 6 hours. Saliva testing roughly fits this profile. With blood you would still pop positive up to a day later, with urine up to a week or more later, and with hair testing up to several months later.
The good news though is that saliva testing is easy and cheap, and can be done in the field by police officers, unlike with blood testing. I think ultimately per se limits that are enforced with saliva testing (but not with the other methods) are reasonable, but the limits need to actually be based on science, not just pulled out of someone's ass.
(Of course this is assuming that better studies eventually do support per se limits for marijuana, which they don't seem to currently.)
Yesterday I almost got hit by a stupid driver while walking my dog. She didn't stop where she was supposed to, in an attempt not to hit a bus she ran over the sidewalk.
The scary thing, the moment she saw me was after this episode when I politely said you almost killed me.
What I see on a near daily basis is terrifying. I almost t-boned someone because they decided to pull across oncoming traffic to get into a parking lot of a hotel, whilst towing a 30ft boat trailer, on one of the rainiest days of the year, with oncoming traffic coming down a very steep highway overpass. I slammed on my breaks as soon as I saw the idiot start turning. I laid on my horn and basically had to sit there as my ABS chugged away hoping I don't hit him, and hoping my work trailer's brakes don't lock the wheels, lose traction and jackknife into an adjacent lane. I missed the guy by literally less than a foot.
What trumped it, the guy had no license plate on his trailer! I couldn't report the moron even though I wanted to.
This time of year is seriously the worst, when all the cyclists stop biking to work and get back in the car. You get people running red lights and stops, no clue how a 4-way stop works, etc. etc. Speaking from experience once those bikes disappear crazyness on the road increases 10-fold. I know correlation /= causation, but it sure as hell is the biggest coincidence I've ever seen.
Alcohol will persist in your blood past 12 hours, as many people in Russia (which has zero tolerance on the books) found out. So in US you will go to jail by your own argument. Still want zero tolerance, then?
I also have to admit that trying to in effect argue that people should not be prevented from "driving stoned" (yes, I know that's not really what they're saying - I hope!) is a peculiar strategy to get the majority of people onside. I rather like a drink. But I wouldn't argue in favour of drink driving.
Because if you look at the NHTSA data, it's very clear that the risk for someone driving at .08 is about 5x the baseline risk. If there was similar research showing that driving at 5ng/ml of marijuana had the same 5x increased risk then it would make a lot of sense. But that is not in fact the case. What they are essentially saying is that it's ok to drink and drive until your risk of killing someone is 5x increased, but it's illegal to smoke and drive even if your risk factor is only 1.1x or whatever.
http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/AlcoholHighway/2... (See figure 2-6)
I've seen stranger. Some people don't seem to grasp the concept of reasonable requests and gradual change; they want it all, and they want it now.
Marijuana is fat soluble. Therefore if you smoke it regularly, it is always in your fat, and therefore always detectible in your body. Alcohol is not fat-soluble, so you get drunk, and not too much later it is out of your system.
However, as anyone who has tried it knows, marijuana does not keep you impaired for a month or so as it passes through your system.
It's a little bit counterintuitive since clearly you can be so intoxicated that you are whited out, but the results are very consistent across numerous different types of studies. I certainly wouldn't recommend driving after smoking, but epidemiologically speaking there is little to no increased risk when averaged out across the entire population.
Uh that meta-analysis of 9 studies you posted disagrees:
Specifically, drivers who test positive for marijuana or self-report using marijuana are more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in motor vehicle crashes. The increased risk of crash involvement associated with marijuana use is generally consistent across studies that were conducted in different geographic regions and driver populations, used different research design approaches, and were based on different methods for measuring marijuana use.
Further, one of those studies showed a 3.3x increase in crashes for high levels of THC-COOH in urine.
And as anyone who has been sufficiently stoned will tell you, there is no way in hell you should let them behind a wheel (or frankly, anyone who is mentally incapacitated). There is an upper limit just as there is for any number of prescription drugs that affect mental performance.
That is the equivalent of something like half a beer, maybe one full beer at the most. And even the authors say that this is probably an overestimate, and most likely a substantial one.
If you look at the actual double blind studies, many of them can't even tell the placebo arm from the trial arm in terms of total accident risk.
I've conducted such studies, albeit in less than scientific environments. Truth be told, even without the bias of wanting to see the day where the vox populi regarding recreational use has swung the other way, driving after a few puffs of marijuana has always made me a more considerate driver.
This isn't the same as "I drive better when drunk" but instead "I tend to care less about some guy going before me at a four way stop when it's not his turn" et al
There isn't a scientific explanation, again but it's purely anecdotal; I become more relaxed and forgiving behind the wheel and honestly? Less angry drivers the better.
Your third link says:
"The results of this meta-analysis suggest that marijuana use by drivers is associated with a significantly increased risk of being involved in motor vehicle crashes."
Sleep deprivation can be as debilitating as drunk driving, yet you don't hear people wailing about letting those with untreated sleep apnea on the roads. And how about those cell phones, eh?
Maybe they should fight that number over the proposition as a whole. As far as I'm aware (probably quite unaware), THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid. Testing for THC over other cannabinoids (CBD) is the way to go testing inhibition. Just because a doctor can prescribe certain opiates to me doesn't mean I should be able to operate any type of vehicle. I worry a little about medicated vehicle operation, not because it may be 'unsafe', rather in the event of accident you know what would be blamed.
In the Netherlands, they have started requiring users to register for a weed card, which has been enforced in multiple provinces. Foreigners are no longer able to use coffeeshops. Just Dutch nationals that choose to be registered at a shop. The effects? More dealing on the street. People don't like being registered. Slowly but surely more and more people are registering, and the rest are getting it through their friends, or illegal dealers which is the worst situation.
Open it up as much as possible. No registrations, just show your ID, if asked, when buying at 'coffee shops'. Governments will be able to educate the users more. Grow it as a government, allow 'farmers' to grow too. Tax it.
I was mostly intrigued by the principle and the layout of the site.
In todays time it seems like an awesome principle to just make a collection of noteworthy people and get people to twitter (generally: contact) them to get their point of view in order to use this quote for your cause.
Combined with a nice layout, catchy URL and clever use of social media, seems like things like this could be done with more causes than just this one.
While i know that most of you will think "Well, not really a revolution, it has been done before. Where have you lived the last few years of your life to be intrigued by something like that" I personally never saw it in such a well executed form and manner.
How about doing the same with gay marriage.
-) group feature is awesome
-> how about additionally making groups for the parties (e.g. "Republican Party Member"), guess that would be nice feature
-) how about a search function for looking up specific persons
CTRL-F works, it's all one giant page, after all :)
that marijuana used had declined since Portugal changed its law. That's an interesting claim. Do we have strong evidence from before-and-after policy comparisons in other countries that use of marijuana declines if use of marijuana is responded to by administrative sanctions rather than criminal penalties? If so, that would be food for thought for people like me (a generation older than most HN participants) who have seen a lot of promising young people in two generations "burn out" from marijuana use. Criminal approaches to social problems are harsh and expensive. If they are also less effective in dealing with reducing marijuana use than administrative approaches, and voters can be convinced of that, perhaps there is a path forward toward reforming marijuana laws on the basis that marijuana should be neither casually used nor a ground for imprisonment. (I think the actual enforcement practice in my state, Minnesota, largely is of the form of diverting users of marijuana to drug treatment programs.)
One factor in this, however, was the quality of alcohol being consumed. The drinks in a speakeasy frequently contained various poisons ranging from methyl alcohol to organophosphates to carbolic acid. Thankfully the US Government has largely seen the wisdom of not poisoning its citizens.
My understanding of drug treatment programs is that you may pay for them or face worse consequences. I was not raised to believe that justice should be so purchased.
On the subject of young people: pot dealers do not check IDs. Medical science indicates that marijuana interferes with pre-adult brain development. No one is proposing that marijuana be made more available to young people, or more generally that making it more widely available carries much innate benefit. The push for reform is simply an observance that, as with our other Prohibition, the cure is worse than the disease.
EDIT: Just to point out, possession of marijuana has been legal in Alaska for decades. For the most part, nobody cares. Some people smoke, some don't, nobody does it in public.
Evidence for this? I've seen contrary statements from a very eminent criminologist on the deaths from alchohol, at least. What is the best source for statistics on such issues?
One source  seems to suggest that deaths were lower but rising. Deaths from poisoned alcohol tripled between 1920 and 1925. The author of the latter paper (Mark Thorton) has written extensively on the subject, his book The Economics of Prohibition may be informative.
I don't think this is a fair question. What's important isn't what percentage of people are using one specific drug, or even abusing one specific drug, but rather how healthy their overall patterns of drug use are. If marijuana were legalized tomorrow and everyone who currently smokes cigarrettes switched to marijuana then obviously there would be a huge increase in marijuana use, but it would be great news from a public health perspective.
Similarly, in ~2020 when MAPS (maps.org) gets FDA approval for using MDMA to treat PTSD then we will see more people using MDMA, but this will undoubtedly be a good thing.
You want hard data to show whether or not marijuana use goes down, in order to combine that information with your totally unsubstantiated "burn out" theory to come to a decision? Don't you think the "burn out" theory is just as deserving of real evidence to support it?
Here is a small article from Time about this counterintuitive, yet very interesting, "experiment" : http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.ht...
Regardless, the change is important. There is a big difference between "supporting pot legalization" and "supporting pot". I often wonder whether efforts toward the former are hampered by the fact that all sides in the debate tend to think of it in terms of the latter.
What are you trying to say?
Full legalization can only be done at the national level.
You have raised an important point. This has turned out to be a problem in CA.
Pharmacies don't want to touch MJ because it's illegal under federal law. The regulatory arm of the state of California doesn't want to touch it for the same reason. Some cities attempt to regulate it, some don't.
Because the dispensaries produce a lot of cash profit (in violation of prop 215, but whatever), they have been able to fund lawyers to sue cities and invalidate all regulations. It turns out it's really hard to craft a regulation, even a simple one for licensing, that holds up to court challenge. The city of LA has given up and explicitly called in the Feds to raid the MJ shops. (The feds get them for tax evasion -- kind of a catch 22 because it's hard to report this income on your federal return; as mentioned, they're not supposed to profit but there's no way to check.)
I voted for Prop 215, but I really had no idea how quickly it was going to turn to shit. Pothead idealism meets serious potential for quick profit.
It really is a pain to use.
It's 330px not 30px with the quote.
Guess which (former) political figure summoned this wonderful word storm :)
Marijuana will be legal some day, because the many law students
who now smoke pot will someday become congressmen and legalize
it in order to protect themselves.
-- Lenny Bruce
Do we really need techcrunch to interpret for us? Who's idea was that?
Because people are arrogant about it and think they are perfectly fine and that it's not like alcohol - right now the fear of being caught with it in the car slows down that arrogance, once it's legal it's going to happen all the time.
Also there has to be some severe penalty for public smoking because I don't want you smoking it next to the playground just because you are now allowed to.
In addition to the fact that marijuana doesn't actually significantly increase driving risk, the overall driving fatalities may actually decrease if people switch to smoking instead of drinking or using benzos. Driving fatalities have actually fallen more in medical marijuana states than across the rest of the country:
That being said there is some uncertainty because driving after mixing alcohol with marijuana is significantly more dangerous than driving after consuming either alone, but so far all the data seems to suggest that if anything legalizing marijuana will actually save thousands of lives per year.
Also, I don't see how making the drug legal would affect the amount of people that choose to drive while under its effects. Being caught with alcohol while driving is almost (if not as) bad, and yet it doesn't stop people from drunk driving.
Further, reckless driving is illegal, even if someone has no intoxicants in their system.
The thing is a lot of people exaggerate the effects of marijuana to being this wholly disorienting experience. In truth, it just makes everything seem hilarious and almost every food combination a scientific discovery. Moreover, unlike alcohol where you feel empowered (i.e. go out and drive), it more or less gives you a "not right now" feeling and you stay put.
That being said, there will always be unintelligent misinformed people who take it too far. Don't let it frighten you.
Your post screams of canna-phobia. It's like people having gut reactions to homosexuality because they're conditioned against it.
Please, take the politics elsewhere. There are tons of sites for discussing politics. This is one of the few really good places for hacking and startups, so please let's keep it free of flame-bait.
It's in the guidelines, too, for what it's worth:
" Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic. "