In the 01/11/2019 edition:

Study: Michigan medical marijuana users are driving while high

Jan 11, 2019 10:06 am

Detroit Free Press 9 January 2019
Family First Comment: More than half of the medical marijuana users in Michigan have driven under the influence of the drug, creating a potential for car crashes, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

More than half of the medical marijuana users in Michigan have driven under the influence of the drug, creating a potential for car crashes, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

The study, which surveyed 790 of the state’s medical marijuana patients, revealed that:

  • 56 percent reported driving within two hours of using marijuana.
  • 51 percent aid they drove while  a “little high.”
  • 21 percent reported driving while “very high.”

The findings were published Wednesday in the “Drug & Alcohol Dependence” journal.

“When you are intoxicated with marijuana or you have marijuana actively in your system it can affect things like your coordination and your reaction time,” said the study’s lead author Erin Bonar, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “We know it can take several hours for its effects to wear off.”

She added: “There is a low perceived risk about driving after using marijuana, but we want people to know that they should ideally wait several hours to operate a vehicle after using cannabis, regardless of whether it is for medical use or not,” Bonar said. “The safest strategy is to not drive at all on the day you used marijuana.”

About 270,000 people in Michigan have permission to use medical marijuana. Only California has more medical marijuana users, roughly 916,000, according to statistics.

And now that recreational use of marijuana has been approved by the state’s voters, the potential for high drivers and any dangers they may pose is greater.

“We believe more research is needed to inform a larger public education effort that will help individuals understand the risks for themselves, and others, of driving while under the influence of cannabis,” Bonar said. “It is especially needed during this time of rapid policy change as many states are determining how to manage marijuana legalization. We also need clearer guidelines about marijuana dosing and side effects with an understanding of how individual differences in things like sex and body weight interact as well.”

In its study, the U-M team surveyed Michigan adults who were seeking medical marijuana certification for chronic pain in 2014 and 2015. The researchers asked about respondents’ driving habits for the past six months.



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Conscience Not Coercion On Same-Sex Marriage – Poll

Jan 11, 2019 08:10 am

A poll by Curia Market Research has found that six years on from the passing of the same-sex marriage law, there is still strong support for New Zealanders to be free to have a traditional view of marriage, and to exercise that conviction in the public space. This goes in contrast to recent examples where marriage celebrants and a Warkworth baker have suffered the consequences of expressing their personal view of marriage.

In the independent polling of 1,000 New Zealanders by Curia Market Research, commissioned by Family First NZ:

  • 61% said that marriage celebrants should not be required to perform same-sex weddings if these go against their personal convictions. 31% said they should.
  • 59% said they supported faith-based organisations including mosques and temples not being required to host same-sex weddings in their buildings. 31% said they should have to.
  • 59% said service providers such as photographers and caterers should not be required to supply their services to same-sex weddings if these go against their personal conviction. 35% said they should.
  • 45% said that faith-based schools – whether, Christian, Jewish or Moslem – should not be required to teach that same sex marriages are equal to the marriage of a man and a woman. 44% said they should be.

Support for freedom of conscience was highest amongst National, NZ First, Green and minor party supporters, and lowest amongst Labour supporters.

The polling comes after a Warkworth baker politely refused a request to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage and was threatened with legal action, and almost 50 marriage celebrant applications were rejected because the applicants were unwilling to officiate at same-sex weddings. The Celebrants Association of NZ has told current celebrants in a recent newsletter that “Independent Marriage Celebrants who refuse to marry couples because they are the same gender, will lose their registration.”

This flies directly in the face of assurances made by Labour MP Louisa Wall when she introduced the bill to Parliament and said ‘…What my bill does not do is require any person… to carry out a marriage if it does not fit with the beliefs of the celebrant.’ The report of the Government Administration Select Committee considering the bill at the time stated: ‘It is our intention that the passage of this bill should not impact negatively upon people’s religious freedoms… it does not seek to interfere with people’s religious freedoms.’”

Politicians should deliver on assurances given at the time of the passing of the law redefining marriage and explicitly state in law that freedom of conscience for celebrants, venue and service providers, and faith-based schools is protected.

This law currently provides a culture of coercion. Politicians who support the right of freedom of belief and conviction should fix the anomaly. Marriage between one man and one woman remains a perfectly legitimate and reasonable point of view, as indeed it has been for millennia. Service providers, marriage celebrants and faith-based schools who believe in traditional marriage should not be forced to directly violate their moral or religious convictions.

The Australian government has recently accepted a recommendation from the Ruddock review into religious freedom to amend their Charities Act to ensure that groups who say marriage is between a man and a woman are not stripped of their charitable status.  

The nationwide poll was carried out during December and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.



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