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Marijuana, Can It Really Cause an Automobile Accident?
Will They Send Him to Prison?
There was an article in our local newspaper this evening that caught my eye, and here is part of it so that you will be able to see what I am talking about. I quote this from the Ventura County Star, May 2 evening edition.
"A county forensic analyst testified Tuesday that there was a high concentration of marijuana in Jeremy White's blood when he allegedly caused an accident that critically injured a California Highway Patrol officer and killed an Arizona man last year.
"It's one of the highest levels I recall seeing," said Dea Boehme, supervisor with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Forensic Sciences Laboratory.
Three forensic scientists from the laboratory — Boehme, Paul Crowley and Fabiola Nunes-Daniel — testified about White's blood-test results at his preliminary hearing in Ventura County Superior Court.
The 20-year-old White, who is in custody under a $500,000 bail, is facing three felony counts: gross vehicular manslaughter; driving under the influence and causing an injury and refusing to take a chemical test; and selling or transporting marijuana.
The Paso Robles man also faces several special allegations, including causing great bodily injuring resulting in brain injury and paralysis, and causing injury or death to more than one victim.
On Jan. 28, White pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied the special allegations.
The Dec. 19 crash occurred on the right shoulder of northbound Highway 101 north of Ventura. It killed Andreas Parra, 20, of Phoenix and critically injured CHP motorcycle officer Anthony Pedeferri, 36.
In their testimony Tuesday, the forensic scientists said the drug Ecstasy was detected in White's blood in addition to marijuana.
Outside the courtroom, White's lawyer, William Gamble, said he doesn't believe that marijuana had anything to do with the accident.
While White was driving in the slow lane, the motorcycle he was transporting "felt like it had tipped and dropped," and White turned to look at the motorcycle, his attorney said.
"He just moved the wheel a little bit, and the next thing you know, you're in the side of the road," Gamble said.
"They had gone to Los Angeles to purchase the motorcycle. They were bringing it back from Downey," he continued.
In addition, Gamble said, White has a medical prescription for marijuana.
"He is a very heavy user of marijuana because he had back injuries," Gamble said.
During the preliminary hearing, White's subpoenaed medical records were admitted into evidence.
Boehme told Ventura County Superior Court Judge Roland Purnell that it was her opinion that White was under the influence of marijuana and Ecstasy.
She testified how marijuana affects the brain, including impairing perception of space and time and interfering with short-term memory. Ecstasy, a psychedelic drug, is a derivative of methamphetamine, Boehme said.
She said Ecstasy impairs the brain's ability to process information, impulses, balance and gait.
Boehme said the test results were consistent with police reports and other reports of White's behavior, which described him as having a rapid pulse, dilated pupils and high blood pressure."
The article continued with other bits of information and details on when the case would be heard and so on.
Ever since our state, California, has made marijuana legal for medical use, there are those who would really love to spread all sorts of lies and half truths regarding this issue, and are causing enough confusion that those who have never partaken would tell you that it causes sexual misconducts, that those who smoke should loose their driving privileges, that is causes people to abuse bigger and stronger drug habits, and many other rumours.
I am a dialysis technician, and have studied toxins in our bodies, how long they stay in our systems, and the cause and effect of many types of drugs and toxins. This topic in particular I have done much research on, and I have been unable to find even one shred of evidence that you could ever overdose on marijuana, nor that it has ever caused anyone to have an automobile accident.
I am a firm believer in knowing what you are talking about, and unless one has had firsthand knowledge of how this substance effects you, you really cannot say for sure whether or not a person should drive while under it's influence.
Let me assure you, that even though marijuana has relaxing qualities, and though it definitely has effective qualities in controlling pain, there is no way that a person could ever overdose, nor can it cause you to have an accident, like an alcoholic drink can. It is this temptation to compare the two substances that is causing some of this confusion over the subject.
The article also said that the youngster had the drug Ecstasy in his bloodstream. It is a very common and favorite practise of our police department here to confuse and use this issue to get as many people into jail as is possible. Unless someone takes a drug and then within about 8 to 12 hours, drives, he may be guilty of driving while having a dirty bloodstream, but he is not medically under the influence. A person can take a drug, one, two and even three days before, and still have that substance in his bloodstream, for it takes that long for our kidneys to clean it out. This does not mean that this is going to cause you to be high or do anything like cause an auto accident, because the high just does not last as long as the dirty does. Therefore, we here in this county, can actually get pulled over, be made to test, and if there are even traces of a drug in our system, we could be prosecuted for driving under the influence and go to jail for the better part of a year. Technicalities, that is all that is.
Families and homes are being ripped apart, and people are going to jail for a long time because of this technical claim that a dirty test means that we cannot drive, and are breaking the law. What a twist of the truth just so our dear boys in blue can make our local government a little more money.
A new or inexperienced driver will quite often turn the wheel when looking to the right or left of his automobile, just drifting the same direction as his eye are looking. It is quite possible that this is what this 20 year old driver did, and it is probably more likely that this is what he did rather than the overdose on THC theory.
It is a terrible thing what happened to the officer in this accident, but weighing out whether it was a case of driving under the influence or whether it was just a terrible accident, only one person knows that answer for certain. I honestly believe it was an accident though.
This court case demonstrates the need to study by trial and error, or by clinical studies, or however they would have to study it, to find out more facts about this controversial plant that seems to have so many people upset, to the point of putting people in jail over it. We need facts that have been studied, like we know about the other medicines that we use in our hospitals and clinics, for marijuana has got to be a medicine that is being used, and has definite benefits, but without full knowledge of its potential. It has been around for hundreds of years, yet the taboo still exists and is directed at those people who have found the usages beneficial to their lives, but unaccepted by their peers.