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Marijuana Increases the Risk of Deadly Crashes

The percentage of drivers killed who tested positive for drugs has reached the level of alcohol-related fatalities according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. More than 5,000 drivers killed each year had drugs in their systems at the time of the crash. 

The association has issued a new report, Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Do, to help states deal with the problem. 

The report emphasizes marijuana and its impact on driving because lawmakers are legalizing the drug without taking into account its ability to impair drivers. 

“The evidence is very clear that marijuana affects decision times, reaction times, and so forth. If you are using marijuana, you are at an increased risk of being in a crash,” notes the report's author.

Recommendations for states include:
  • Assess the data and understand what is happening now.
  • Examine and update drug-impaired driving laws. 
  • Provide training to law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges.
  • Test all fatally-injured drivers for the presence of drugs.
  • Screen and assess all offenders to identify any drug or alcohol problems or underlying mental health issues and refer offenders to treatment if needed.
  • Track all alcohol- and drug-impaired driver crash data separately to best assess the problem.

Read story hereRead association press release here. Read association report here.
Colorado Yields to
Marijuana Industry Pressure on Pesticides
A special report by The Denver Post this week finds that regulators, in this case the Colorado Department of Agriculture, are yielding to industry pressure rather than public-health concerns over pesticides used to grow marijuana.

The newspaper obtained three years of emails and conducted many interviews that revealed the department stood ready to recommend only pesticides with the least toxic chemicals, such as neem oil, could be used on marijuana plants. But the department scuttled the list when the industry protested that it needed stronger pesticides to protect its crops.

A year later, the city of Denver began quarantining plants over concerns that the pesticides used pose a threat to health. The department then issued a broader, less restrictive list of pesticides growers could use, but made pesticide inspections a low priority. Only when the department receives a complaint from a worker or consumer does it look into the problem.

Last week, however, the department began a rule-making process to compile a list of acceptable pesticides that may be used to grow marijuana. Meanwhile, marijuana infused-foods and other products that may contain pesticides continue to be sold throughout the state. 

Read story here.
(Pictured: A worker sprays nontoxic neem oil to combat spider mites and mildew on growing marijuana plants.)
Marijuana Pesticide Flap
Brings Consumer Lawsuit in Colorado

Failure to regulate pesticides used to grow marijuana in Colorado has led to the first marijuana product liability lawsuit in the nation.

This week, two Colorado marijuana users sued LivWell, a Denver pot shop, for its use of the pesticide Eagle 20 EW on plants it grew. Denver authorities quarantined thousands of LivWell’s plants earlier this year, but returned them after they tested at acceptable levels. 

Eagle 20 EW is commonly used on grapes and hops but is banned from use on tobacco because it can become dangerous when heated.

“States need to develop comprehensive lab-testing requirements and guidelines about what pesticides are OK to use on this product,” says a Seattle attorney. “It’s going to be treated no differently than food or beverages,” she added.

Read story here.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter produced by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) 

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of "incarceration versus legalization" when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy. 

SAM has four main goals: 
  • To inform public policy with the science of today's marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of "Big Marijuana" - and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana's medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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