Saturday, December 28, 2013

More Washington Drivers Testing Positive for Marijuana

During the first six months of 2013, Washington State patrol’s crime lab said 745 people tested positive for marijuana when, typically, it takes a full year for 1,000 drivers to test positive. A patrol spokesman said that this doesn’t mean there has been a rash of people driving high, just that troopers are looking harder for drivers operating under the influence of pot, and consequently ordering more marijuana blood tests.

In August, the Justice Department announced that it would not sue to block recreational marijuana sales in Washington and Colorado as long as those states satisfy eight federal law enforcement criteria, including keeping pot away from children and off the black market, and work to combat drugged driving.

When Washington and Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana for 21 and older adults last year, they also set a legal limit of 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood for drivers. Anything higher is a per-se violation of impaired driving laws. Of the 745 people who tested positive during the first half of this year, 420 tested above the legal limit. 609 drivers tested positive in 2012, up from 506 in 2011. The positive pot-test numbers represent cases handled by the patrol as well as local police agencies. 

What the numbers don't reveal is whether more drivers are driving under the influence of marijuana or if police officers are simply testing for marijuana use now that it is legal. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

AHP Releases Cannabis Monograph

The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) has released the first installment of a two-part Cannabis monograph, in a historic move that classifies cannabis as a botanical medicine, alongside many other widely accepted alternative medicines.

The cannabis monograph details long-awaited standards about the plant’s botanical properties, including other scientific data, and provides a foundation for healthcare professionals to incorporate marijuana therapy into their practices.

The Executive Director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), an organization, which supported the development of the monograph, applauds the AHP’s monograph, which is the first of its kind in over seventy years.

Partly because of a need for validated standards to guide laboratory analysis, the AHP began development of the cannabis monograph in 2011. The monograph was reviewed by the world’s leading researchers and represents one of the most comprehensive documents on cannabis in a long time.

The second installation of the monograph, the Therapeutic Compendium, is due out in the spring. Among other topics, it will encompass historical data, pre-clinical and clinical pharmacology and interactions with conventional medicines.

AHP is a worldwide network of experts in medicinal plants formed in 1995 to promote the responsible use of herbal products and medicines. The group expects to eventually publish over 300 monographs covering the most widely used Western, Ayurvedic and Chinese botanicals.

Later this week, ASA will launch a third-party certification program for the medical cannabis industry called Patient Focused Certification (PFC), based on the AHP monograph. PFC and professional training will be available in all twenty medical marijuana states and the District of Columbia.