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  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:08 AM | Anonymous

    Division 1 of the Washington Court of Appeals concluded that once an officer forms a reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence, a DUI suspect has no 4th Amendment right to refuse tests that reveal whether the person is under the influence.  Because the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) are valided for precisely that purpose and are not overly intrusive or time consuming, the court concluded the request was reasonable and the refusal to peform those tests was indicative of consciousness of guilt and admissible for that purpose.   While Washington courts had previously held that the refusal to perform SFSTs was admissible, that challenge was under the federal 5th Amendment. 

    The full case is available here: State v. Mecham (April 21, 2014) 

     

  • Monday, April 07, 2014 8:13 AM | Anonymous

    A 19 year-old Wyoming exchange student tried pot brownies during his Spring break and died after jumping off a balcony.  Despite testing for other substances, only marijuana was found in the student's blood.  The medical examiner lists marijuana intoxication as a significant contributing factor in the death--the first time they have done so. 

    Denver Article

    NBC News

  • Tuesday, April 01, 2014 8:50 AM | Anonymous

    No joke. Division One of the Court of Appeals concluded today that the Governor's line-item veto of provisions in the 2011 bill ESSSB 5073 changed the Medical Use of Cannabis Act from its original intent to legalize some marijuana uses.  Under the original bill, persons registered in a state registry could legally grow and use marijuana under certain circumstances.  Because the registry was vetoed, it is impossible for anyone to comply with the provision.  As approved by the governor, the law creates an affirmative defense in criminal prosecutions for those who are not registered.  

    Importantly, the court held that the law authorized by the legislature and the governor provide jurisdicitons the authority to regulate marijuana under RCW 69.51A.140.  The power to regulate includes the power to exclude.  Accordingly, the City of Kent's zoning ban on collective gardens is lawful. 

    The full case is available here: Cannabit Action Coalition v. City of Kent 

  • Monday, March 24, 2014 10:30 AM | Anonymous

    Less than a tablespoon of liquid Nicotine can kill an adult.  Nicotine is a powerful stimulant and it need not be consumed--it just needs to come into contact with your skin.  In a case out of Kentucky, a woman was rushed to the hospital with heart failure when her e-cigarrete broke in her bed and she absorbed the concentrate by contact.  But adult incidents are far less common than children.  60% of these cases involve very small childrent lured by the bright colors and interesting fruity flavors now popular for Nicotine.  When use by a child-vomiting is immediate but death can follow quickly.   Liquid nicotine is now offered on the internet by the barrel, at $195/gallon for 10% Nicotine solution.  

    For the full story by Matt Richtel:   Matt's NY Times Story  

  • Friday, February 28, 2014 11:34 AM | Anonymous

    A study that reviews the deaths of two young men who died unexpectedly while under the influence of marijuana concludes they died as a result of their marijuana use.  While marijuana use is not associated with overdose deaths (because marijuana receptors are not found where life support functions exist), these deaths occured from cardiac failure.  In one case, an underlying heart problem contributed and marijuana can cause arrhythmia.   

    The study calls into question a long-held claim of marijuana proponents--that no one has ever died from marijuana.   The study suggests that marijuana, like all drugs, should only be used after a thorough examination by a medical doctor to determine if it is safe for the user. 

    As an aside, the study also demonstrates that levels of blood THC are signifcantly lower than THC levels in the brain.  In both cases, the subjects had approximately 300% more Delta 9 THC in brain tissue than in the blood.  The subjects also had psychoactive 11-OH-THC at much higher levels in the brain than in their blood--around 350% more.  

    The full study can be seen here:  Hartung_ForensicSciIntl_2014.pdf 

  • Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:29 PM | Anonymous

    In answer to a formal inquiry from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the Washington Attorney General's Office today issued an Opinion concluding that Initiative 502 does not express an intent to preempt individual jurisdictions from exercising their own authority to further control marijuana.  

    The Opinion opens the door for any jurisdiction to ban or strictly limit sales, manufacturing, distribution of marijuana. 

    The full Opinion is here. 

    The Opinion comes on the heels of the Yakima Nation's announcement that they intend to forbid use of all 12 million acres of Yakima ceded land from any involvement in the new marijuana trade.  The Yakima Nation has filed more than 300 objections to such licensing on their lands and expects to file hundreds more.  The story is covered in this Olympian article Here 

  • Thursday, January 02, 2014 9:54 AM | Anonymous

    Our state supreme court issued a new confrontation clause case that concludes the Washington constitutional protections are the same as the federal constitution-so we should follow federal analysis on the issue.  In applying the federal cases, the court concluded that expert witnesses could rely upon the data collected and work done by technicians and analysts on the case without requiring each one to appear for trial.   The opinion should help clarify that any breath test technician can appear to testify at trial without violating confrontation rights.  Likewise, the opinion may give the Toxicology lab some relief regarding who needs to appear in drug cases where multiple drugs are found. 

    The full case may be found here: State v Liu.pdf 

  • Friday, December 13, 2013 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    Uruaguay became the first nation to legalize recreational marijuana this week. 

    Uruaguay intends to regulate the drug by authorizing sales from only pharmacies and sell the seeds to control THC content.  The price will be set at $1 per gram, well below free-market prices--so legal marijuana should displace illegal marijuana quickly.   Legal sales will be limited to 44 grams/person/month.  To prevent "pot tourism" from erupting, only Uruguay residents will be allowed to purchase marijuana from pharmacies.   In addition to controlling sales, the legislation allows each household to grow up to 6 plants and collective gardens may contain as many as 99 plants.

    For news stories, see

    Hannah Hetzer

    CNN; December 11, 2013

    Link to story here

     

    Uruguay Acts to Legalize Marijuana

    SIMON ROMERO

    New York Times; Dec 10, 2013

    Link to story here

     

  • Friday, November 22, 2013 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    All along the I-5 corridor from Canada to Mexico, law enforcement agencies begin emphasis enforcement beginning on Wednesday November 27, 2013.   The goal is to prevent even a single death on I-5 during the Thanksgiving weekend.   To that end, Washington, Oregon, and California law enforcement are combining forces this week to keep the road safe from impaired drivers.  Spread the word!  

                                                

  • Friday, November 15, 2013 2:46 PM | Anonymous

    National collision fatalities went up 3.3% in 2012 from the 2011 totals.  However, Washington continues its remarkable trend downward by cutting 7.6% of its 2011 fatalities in 2012.  

    Congratulations to the entire Washington Traffic Safety Community!  

    The full report is here.  

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