Category: DUI, Drugs & Driving

Miami Valley NORML

Is Cannabis Safe? – Dayton DUI Lawyer

00DUI, Drugs & DrivingTags: , , , , ,

CANNABIS IS SAFE!

Drugs commonly prescribed, like Oxycontin, warns users that misuse can lead to respiratory distress, addiction, overdose or death. See generally, www.Oxycontin.com (official product site). Marijuana on the other hand is relatively safe with the most commonly noted side-effect being hunger and euphoria for first time users. Caution should be exercised when giving medical cannabis to patients with a cardiovascular history, those with mental disorders, and for adolescents. Borgelt, L. M., Franson, K. L., Nussbaum, A.M. & Want, G.S. (2013). The pharmacological and clinical effects of medical cannabis, Pharmacotherapy, 33(2), 105-209.

Comparative toxicological risk assessments have placed marijuana at extremely low risk whereas alcohol and tobacco are deemed to be high risk. Lachenmeier, D.@. & Rehh, J. (2015). Comparative risk assessment of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other illicit drugs using the margin of exposure approach, Scientific Reports, 5. www.ncbi.nim.hih-gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311234. In comparison to heroin where national overdose deaths rose six-fold from 2001-2014. National Institute on Drug Abuse. www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates, in contrast there are no recorded cases of overdose deaths from cannabis EVER! Gable, R.S. (2006). The toxicity of recreational drugs. American Scientist, 94, 206-208.

Why is it important to inform people?

marijuana cannabisThe history of marijuana regulation is replete with outright falsehoods, demonization and racism. The association with “undesirables” and years of the “War on Drugs” have left the American public, and our law makers with the impression that marijuana is dangerous and addictive.  This is not the case.  The argument that marijuana is addictive has also been disproven. Even using the broad definition of “addiction” that is employed by the NIDA, “researchers concluded that 9% of people who ever try marijuana will be addicted at some point. National Institute on Drug Abuse. www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive.

The age-old argument that cannabis is a “gateway drug” inviting use of harder drugs has also been turned on its head. Marijuana has become a gateway to get off the hard drugs. ” The inclusion of medical marijuana represents an important adjunctive therapy to behavioral therapy and treatment with naltrexone/Vivitrol for individuals struggling with opiate addiction. Raby, W.N. et al (2009). Especially relevant is the conclusion that intermittent marijuana use is associated with improved retention in naltrexone treatment for opiate-dependence. The American Journal of Addictions, 18, 301-308.

Our Laws Are Out of Step

Much of the law surrounding marijuana is premised on the above-cited outdated arguments.  Because of fear, legislators pass draconian laws that are out of touch with the science.  All that most people involved in the legalization/medical marijuana movement want to achieve is to have laws based on rational, scientifically smart bases. I am an OVI attorney that dedicates my practice to defending the accused impaired driver.  In my practice I see lives ruined because of the faulty laws passed by our legislature.  I do more than complain.  In addition, for over 15 years I have been part of the legalization movement. I am a member of Miami Valley NORML, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and I have spoken to groups ranging from civic groups to the national NORML convention.  In conclusion,f you need an attorney who is experienced and dedicated, give me a call. I am at (937) 318-1384.

Drugged Driving – Dude, I’m Injured Not Stoned

00DUI, Drugs & DrivingTags: , , , ,

DRUGGED DRIVING – IS THIS PERSON INJURED OR STONED?drugged driving

When a law enforcement officer comes upon a crash scene he or she may suspect illicit drug use. Their training, the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration manual and common sense dictate that no suspicion of drug use be  assumed without evidence. When a case involves medical problems, a drug investigation (DRE, drug recognition expert evaluation) should not be performed. This is the rule per NHTSA. The government wants to avoid confusing possible drug use with the observations really being medical issues. Where the NHTSA manual states in a situation like this, “your primary purpose at this time is to look for any evidence of a medical complication that would warrant terminating the examination and summoning medical assistance since there is always the possibility that a person suspected of drug impairment is actually suffering from an illness or injury requiring medical attention.”

This is another example of how an experienced drugged driving attorney can help. When you come to your consultation, be prepared to talk science. 

DRUGGED DRIVING – HOW WILL THE POLICE REACT?

What we suspect will happen upon implementation of Ohio’s Medical Marijuana law is that law enforcement will take action. Will their opposition to the law manifest in more questionable drugged driving arrests? How can they not be biased? Can an officer instructed to be on alert for drugged driving approach the suspect with the requisite open-mindedness needed to conduct an investigation. In short, will the police officer be fair?

I am reminded of the quote by Maslow, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, ever problem is a nail. 

DRUGGED DRIVING – DAYTON DUI IS PREPARED

As this blog has warned for the past years, the next phase of the government’s WAR ON DRUGS is the DRE protocol allowing roadside police to determine if a person is impaired by prescription or illicit drugs.  Consequently, while it may make no sense that a police officer is turned into a roving drug scientist, the government is allowing this approach. If you are accused of driving while impaired by drugs, call me. I have studied and been certified in drug recognition training. I’m ready! It is imperative that your attorney be familiar with police tactics.  Without the knowledge, you will have no defense. In additoin, I want you to have a plan of attack. Call me to discuss what I can do. What’s more, it is free! Call me at (937) 318-1DUI or visit www.DaytonDUI.com.

Ohio Medical Marijuana Law: The 20 Qualifying Conditions

00DUI, Drugs & Driving

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OHIO MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW

In June, Gov. John Kasich signed the Ohio Medical Marijuana Law, making Ohio the twenty-fifth state to legalize a comprehensive medical cannabis program. HB 523 provides that certain specific diseases, syndromes, disorders and ailments qualify for the program.  I have been inundated with questions about what will qualify under the law.  Here is the complete list (subject to change by regulators) that Ohio has chosen.

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome(AIDS/HIV)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE, the degenerative disease most commonly found in football players and other athletes in contact sports)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pain (either chronic and severe pain or intractable pain)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Any other disease or condition added by the state medical board under section 4731.302 of the Revised Code

Stay tuned to this blog for updates and changes as the law is implemented.

DO NOT DRIVE IF YOU IMBIBE.

ohio medical marijuanaWe have also warned you that Ohio’s OVI law, as currently written, makes driving with a metabolite of marijuana a crime. Ohio is one of only six states to choose a per se limit for marijuana.  Worse yet, they have made the chemical metabolite illegal.  Why is this bad? Firstly, the metabolite cannot scientifically be an impairing substance.  It cannot breach the brain-blood barrier, thus it cannot enter the brain. Secondly, the appearance of a metabolite is in no way related to WHEN the person was impaired by cannabis.  Ohio is thereby punishing a status.

I have argued that there are at least three arguments against the current law. First, it punishes a status and not a behavior.  Second, the law is disproportionate as it applies to drivers who legally use cannabis. Third, the average woman has more body fat than the average man. The existence of the metabolite stores in fat cells. Thus, women are treated differently under the law which violated the Equal Protection clause.

If charged with violating the Ohio OVI law for use of cannabis, please give me a call to discuss the multiple ways I can help you beat the charge.  I have been a speaker, lecturer and advocate for the full legalization of cannabis for many years. I have trained as a Drug Recognition Expert. Further, I study the science of OVI impairment by marijuana and know how to defend you.  Give me a call today at (937) 318-1384 or 24/7 at (937) 776-2671.

Marijuana Timeline (An Update)

00DUI, Drugs & DrivingTags: , , , , , , ,

medical marijuana

Hello, this is Charlie with a medical marijuana update,

I’m reposting this information about Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Plan timeline. So many of you have asked me about it.  Below is the latest information we have so far.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (937) 318-1DUI.

Marijuana Timeline

  • May 26, 2016
    • House Bill 523 Passage
  • September 6, 2016:
    • Effective Date of Bill
    • Affirmative Defense Begins
  • October 6, 2016
    • Appointment of Advisory Committee
  • November 6, 2016
    • Advisory Committee First Meeting
  • May 4, 2017
    • Dept. of Commerce Establishes Rules and Standards for Cultivation
  • September 6, 2017:
    • Dept. of Commerce Establishes Rules and Standards for Processing and Labs
    • Board of Pharmacy Establishes Rules and Standards for Dispensaries and Registration ID Cards
  • September 6, 2018
    • Program Fully Implemented
Take note of the date that you will be allowed to assert an affirmative defense based on the provisions of the act – September 6, 2016.  We will have more here later. Watch this space.
Full implementation will not take place until September 6, 2018.  We have yet to hear how local courts will treat people but expect strict enforcement  [Spoiler – you can expect a crackdown.]  Why? Because Ohio law enforcement will pick favorable courts to implement laws restricting the ability to drive after consumption. So, that is how most implementation has taken place. We expect the same plan here based on this comparison. Currently, Ohio law says that driving with a metabolite is driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).  Therefore, if this does not change, a person could conceivably consume legal marijuana and have possibly illegal metabolite in their body for weeks. We will stay up-to-date on all the changes and permutations of the plan as it is birthed into law. 
If you have a question about the marijuana laws or the implementation of the current law, please do not hesitate to contact Charles M. Rowland II, DaytonDUI at (937) 318-1384.

The Drug War Theory -Jus Ad Bellum?

00DUI Penalties, DUI, Drugs & DrivingTags: , , , , ,

The Just War Theory (hereinafter JWT) is a subset of moral philosophy that addresses the questions about the moral justification for going to war (jus ad bellum) and the moral constraints on conduct within war (jus in bello). The theories underlying the JWT are illustrative of the rules used by attorneys in conducting the prosecution and defense of criminal defendants.  The five rules or requirements set forth to justify governmental aggression are: just cause, last resort, proportionality, right intention and right authority.

In war theory, the most basic rule of aggression is that one may only aggress if one has just cause. Once the legislative authority decides to proscribe certain conduct as being “criminal,” the rules of the Constitution, and the ethical rules of practice create a just cause for imposing the power of the government upon an individual citizen. So greatly do we prize our liberty that we have come to expect a trepidation in using the power of the State against the individual, that we follow the rules of JWT that aggression (in this case creating a category of crime) should be the last resort.  If another plausible alternative to government prohibition exists, the underlying theory supporting the State action is morally questionable. 

Let us now apply JWT to the current War on Drugs being practiced in ernest.  Is it morally justifiable to use aggression, via legislation, against drug users?  Many proponents of reform suggest that treating drug users as criminals is not morally justifiable.  Instead of using the power of the State to put these people in prison, the proper response is to shift the focus of State intervention to treatment.  In many countries in Europe, the State has taken the treatment approach with amazing results.  Ad bellum proportionality requires the aggression to be proportional to the harms caused to society.  The success of these programs calls into question the ad bellum proportionality of sending people to prison for long sentences, depriving their families of their support and causing a generational punishment.  It was the philosopher John Locke that sought to limit our “right to punish” because humans naturally tend to underestimate the injuries they cause others and to overestimate the injuries others cause to them.

As the War on Drugs progressed, it became apparent that it was having a disparate effect on poor communities and communities of color. The racist impact of the laws create a problem for Just War Theorists.  It was Thomas Aquinas who said that, “It may happen that a war is declared for a just cause… and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention.” see his Summa Theologica I, questions 18-21; for Aquinus on war, see ST II, question 40.  Many have concluded that the justice of the aggression was diminished or nullified by the racist ulterior motives.  Putting more African-American men in prison than were ever held is slavery violates the ad bellum rule of right intention.  The War on Drugs was also a war conducted not in the eyes of the public, but in the secretive world of prosecutorial discretion. The motives of local officials are not divorced from the passions of the community, nor are the subject to the oversight of the legislature. Instead, the ad bellum rule of right authority is called into question because of how we allowed the War on Drugs to be prosecuted.

According to traditional JWT, resorting to aggression is justified if and only if all conditions supporting the action are present.  If even one of these requirements are not met, the actions of the aggressor (in this case the government) are not morally permissible.  I think that strong arguments exist that would make prosecution of the War on Drugs wrong.  Apologists for the War on Drugs appeal to the morally important ends at stake – protecting our children from addiction and our communities from violence. But these arguments are undermined at every turn by not only the failure of the War on Drugs but by the failure to justify the continuation of the failed policies when clear alternative exist.

Having raised significant questions about the jus ad bellum justification for the War on Drugs, let us now turn to the method in which the “war” was being and is being prosecuted, to wit the jus in bello analysis.  Just as it is incumbent upon aggressors to weigh the costs and benefits of aggressing in the first place, they must also take care to ensure that their actions within the War on Drugs are proportionate.  Thus, are their beneficial consequences of aggression outweighed by the known and quantifiable harms.  Judges have to ask if weakening the Constitution to make prosecution of drug crimes easier is outweighed by the detrimental effects to our society.  Police officers have to ask if holding prosecutions over an addicts head so as to send that person into dangerous situations for more arrests is ethical. Prosecutors have to ask if making more arrests and sending people to prison for longer and longer sentences benefits the communities they are ethically bound to serve and protect.  Legislators must ask if the endless parade of mandatory drug sentences is serving to make our society better.  The “war” of a criminal trial has clearly delineated boundaries.  As a criminal defense attorney, the moral justification for punishment is met only when I provide a vigorous defense within the rules of the game.  If I fail to provide a proper defense or if I am prevented from making beneficial arguments on my client’s behalf, the “war” becomes unfair and the impact of the laws disproportionate.

The second in bello rule of aggression requires that agents of aggression must discriminate between legitimate and illegitimate targets. They are bound to distinguish between the innocent and those deserving of punishment. The entirety of the requirement of discrimination is reliant upon a good faith execution of the aggression based on solid information.  Is it not true that the War on Drugs has been a campaign fueled by misinformation, fear and undertones of racist memes?  Is it not also true that the continued targeting of Americans is supported by the desire for local law enforcement agencies to co-opt tons and tons of money? If there exists a financial incentive to target people for arrest, then no argument exists that the aggression is discriminate.

This article has attempted to set forth the reasons that the War on Drugs is not justified according to the Just War Theory.  Both the jus ad bellum and jus in bellum theories have been explored and found wanting.