Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project, January 16, 2017
Late one February night in 2013, Massachusetts state trooper Eric French pulled over a blue SUV with its rear lights out. When he approached the car, he saw smoke and smelled pot. The driver, Thomas Gerhardt, could count backwards from 75 to 62 and recite the alphabet from D to Q. But he couldn’t stand on one leg or walk nine steps and turn, standard measures on a field sobriety test. The trooper determined that Gerhardt was impaired, and he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.
Was Gerhardt even high? And if he was, was he too high to drive safely?
Reed Pence, Radio Health Journal, January 15, 2017
With recreational marijuana use legal in eight states and 29 permitting medical pot use, there will be more drivers on the road who are potentially under the influence of marijuana. However, police have no way to determine who is dangerous and who is not, as blood levels of marijuana’s active ingredient are often meaningless. Experts discuss the problem and new scientific discoveries about marijuana impairment.
Greg Miller, Science Magazine, January 12, 2017
There is “conclusive or substantial evidence” that marijuana or related compounds can effectively treat chronic pain, nausea caused by chemotherapy treatment for cancer, and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, according to a report published today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report urges more research on both the benefits and risks of marijuana, but notes that researchers who want to study the drug face significant obstacles.