Now is the time to speak up about driver’s license suspensions for pot offenses by calling your State (not Federal) Senators office . Ohio has increased driver’s license suspensions from a little over 100,000 in 2009 to more than 145,000 in 2014. This is just plain stupid! Even those that support the drug war agree with us in getting rid of these laws.
Ohio State Legislative resolutions has been introduced in the Ohio Senate and House and these resolution are critical to eliminating the driver’s license suspensions for marihuana offenses.
The actual resolution may be found at
The State Senate resolution passed in committee and last week the State Representatives passed it overwhelmingly. So now is the time to contact your STATE SENATOR and urge them to VOTE on this resolution. Below is a link to help you identify your STATE SENATOR (STATE not FEDERAL).
For more details on driver’s license suspension see our article at
With your help this can happen this year.
President, Ohio NORML
Washington, DC: Voters in Oregon and Alaska legalized and regulated the commercial production and sale of marijuana for adults, while voters residing in the nation's capitol and in numerous other cities nationwide similarly decided this Election Day to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.
Alaska and Oregon voters decided in favor of a pair of statewide measures to regulate the commercial production, retail sale, and personal use of marijuana by adults. Alaska and Oregon are the third and fourth states to enact regulations on the licensed production and sale of cannabis, joining Colorado and Washington. All four states have enacted their marijuana legalization laws via voter initiative.
Commenting on the new laws' passage, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: "The majority of voters in these states, like a majority of voters nationwide, agree that a pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the legal, licensed commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults best reduces the risks associated with the plant's use or potential abuse. Elected officials in Alaska, Oregon, and elsewhere should welcome the opportunity to bring these common sense and long overdue regulatory controls to the commercial cannabis market."
Under the new Oregon proposal (Measure 91), adults who engage in the non-commercial cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis for personal use (up to four marijuana plants and eight ounces of usable marijuana at a given time) will not be subject to taxation or commercial regulations. Imposition of the new law will not "amend or affect in any way the function, duties, and powers of the Oregon Health Authority under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act."
Under the Alaska measure (Ballot Measure 2), the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis as well as the cultivation of up to six-plants for personal consumption will be legal and untaxed. Commercial production and retail sales of cannabis will be subject to licensing and taxation. Since 1975, Alaskans have enjoyed personal privacy protections allowing for the possession and cultivation of small quantities of cannabis. However, state law has never before permitted a legal market for marijuana production and sales.
In California, nearly 60 percent of voters backed Proposition 47, which defelonizes simple drug possession crimes, such as the possession of hashish. Under the measure, Californians with felony records for certain marijuana possession offenses will also be eligible to have their records expunged. Those serving time for felony drug offenses will also be able to petition for resentencing.
In the US territory Guam,56 percent of voters decided in favor of Proposal 14A, the Compassionate Cannabis Use Act. The new law directs "the Department of Public Health and Social Services to regulate the use of marijuana as treatment for medical conditions." The Department has up to nine months to provide rules for the territory's medical marijuana program.
By contrast, a proposed Florida amendment (Amendment 2) fell shy of the 60 percent support threshold necessary in that state to amend the state's constitution. Fifty-eight percent of Florida voters endorsed the measure, including supermajorities in most every age group except for those voters age 65 and older.
Said NORML's Deputy Director: "This vote wasn't a rejection of medical marijuana in Florida, but rather an affirmation that most Floridians want patient access to cannabis therapy. NORML hopes that the Florida lawmakers will hear this message loud and clear and take action in 2015 on behalf of the will of the majority of the electorate."
Municipal voters overwhelmingly decided in favor of depenalizing cannabis on Election Day. In Washington, DC, some 70 percent of District voters approved Initiative 71, which removes criminal and civil penalties regarding the adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to six plants. Adults who engage in not-for-profit transactions of small quantities of cannabis or who possess marijuana-related paraphernalia are also no longer be subject to penalty under this act.
Unlike legalization measures in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, I-71 does not establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial cannabis market. However, members of the DC City Council are currently considering separate legislation to regulate the commercial production and sale of marijuana to adults. (Because Washington, DC does not possess statehood, all District laws are subject to Congressional approval prior to their implementation.)
Voters in several Michigan cities, including Saginaw (population 51,000), Port Huron (30,000), and Berkley (15,000) also decided in favor of local ballot measures depenalizing offenses involving the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. Michigan lawmakers are anticipated to debate a statewide decriminalization proposal in 2015.
Likewise, voters in South Portland, Maineapproved a municipal ordinance eliminating local penalties in regard to the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis. Voters in Lewiston, Maine rejected a similar measure.
In New Mexico, voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties decided in favor of advisory questions in support of the decriminalization of one ounce or less of marijuana at a city, county and state level. Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties represent a third of the state's population.
Finally, in Massachusetts, voters in several state representative districts voted in favor of various nonbinding public policy questions calling on state officials to legalize and regulate cannabis-related commerce.
Moderate cannabis consumption by young people is not positively associated with changes in intelligence quotient (IQ), according to data presented this week at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual congress in Berlin, Germany.
Investigators at the University College of London analyzed data from 2,612 subjects who had their IQ tested at the age of eight and again at age 15. They reported no relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15 when confounding factors such as subjects’ history of alcohol use and cigarette use were taken into account.
“In particular alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline,” the authors wrote in a press release cited by The Washington Post. “No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change.”
Quoted in the Independent Business Times, the study’s lead author said: “Our findings suggest cannabis may not have a detrimental effect on cognition, once we account for other related factors particularly cigarette and alcohol use. This may suggest that previous research findings showing poorer cognitive performance in cannabis users may have resulted from the lifestyle, behavior and personal history typically associated with cannabis use, rather than cannabis use itself.”
The investigators acknowledged that more chronic marijuana use, defined in the study as a subject’s admission of having consumed cannabis 50 times or more by age 15, was correlated with slightly poorer exam results at the age of 16 — even after controlling for other variables. However, investigators admitted: “It’s hard to know what causes what. Do kids do badly at school because they are smoking weed, or do they smoke weed because they’re doing badly?”
Commenting on the newly presented data, the meeting’s Chair, Guy Goodwin, from the University of Oxford, told BBC News: “This is a potentially important study because it suggests that the current focus on the alleged harms of cannabis may be obscuring the fact that its use is often correlated with that of other even more freely available drugs and possibly lifestyle factors.”
In a recent review published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the NIDA Director Nora Volkow alleged that cannabis use, particularly by adolescents, is associated with brain alterations and lower IQ. However, the IQ study cited by Ms. Volkow as the basis of her claim was later questioned in a separate analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That paper suggested that socioeconomics, not subjects’ cannabis use, was responsible for differences in IQ and that the plant’s “true effect [on intelligence quotient] could be zero.”
A previous assessment of cannabis use and its potential impact on intelligence quotient in a cohort of young people tracked since birth reported, “[M]arijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”
As of earlier this year 145,397 Ohioans lost their driving privileges for a drug offenses unrelated to driving. Most driver’s license suspensions are for marijuana possession. While most states do not take away a driver license (see image), and other appear to be scaling back these suspension policy (i.e. New York & Florida) Ohio has increased driver’s license suspensions from a little over 100,000 in 2009 to more than 145,000 in 2014.
Research has found the mandatory driver’s license suspensions for drug possession make roads more dangerous by diverting resources away from highway safety enforcement. In addition, driver’s license suspensions have been particularly devastating to the working poor. According to the Clemency Report forty-two percent lose their jobs following a license suspension.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the trade group for state DMVs and BMVs, vigorously opposes “social conformance” driver’s licenses suspensions. The AAMVA documented the damage in an 80-page report published in 2013. Furthermore the common belief that a license suspension provides motivation for individuals to comply with court ordered or legislated mandates to avoid suspension is not supported by empirical evidence.
The 2012 Ohio Senate Collateral Sanctions Bill 337 sponsored by State Senator Seitz, Eklund & Skindell was signed by Governor John Kasich, One of the focuses was to reduce non-driving suspensions. An exception to that was drug license suspension due to drug offenses. They were unable to do so at that time due to Federal law, 23CFR 192 (Drug Offenders Driver’s License Suspension) that requires states to suspend or revoke the driver licenses of anyone convicted of any drug offense or lose highway funds if they do not.
Ohio legislators have since discovered that states can opt out of this requirement by submitting a certified statement by the Governor opposing enactment or enforcement of the law and a resolution by the State legislature expressing opposition to such a law. That process has been started by the introduction of Senate Concurrent Resolution 27 and HCR 55. Ohio NORML testified at the transportation committee hearing. SCR 27 was successfully passed at the committee level and is waiting on the full Ohio Senate to act. Note the Ohio Judicial Conference of Judges also supports eliminating Ohio driver’s license suspension due to drug offenses.
Below is a list of states that are not enforcing US Code Title 23 highways section 159 "Revocation or suspension of drivers" licenses of individuals convicted of drug offenses.
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Below is a list of states that are enforcing Federal law.
Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,Texas, and Virginia.
Ohio is distinct among it's peers in that Ohio Revised Code in that suspension can be for up to 5 years even for having a pipe which was made an non arrestable offense by SB337.
The data was provided by the US Department of Transportation is the basis for the above map of the United States.
Ohio NORML request that you contact your state legislator and put Ohio in the Green section of the map.
The enactment of medicinal marijuana laws is associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates, according to data published online today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.
A team of investigators from the University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore conducted a time-series analysis of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the United States from 1999 to 2010 — a period during which 13 states instituted laws allowing for cannabis therapy.
Researchers reported, “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.” Specifically, overdose deaths from opioids decreased by an average of 20 percent one year after the law’s implementation, 25 percent by two years, and up to 33 percent by years five and six.
They concluded, “In an analysis of death certificate data from 1999 to 2010, we found that states with medical cannabis laws had lower mean opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates compared with states without such laws. This finding persisted when excluding intentional overdose deaths (ie, suicide), suggesting that medical cannabis laws are associated with lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality among individuals using opioid analgesics for medical indications. Similarly, the association between medical cannabis laws and lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates persisted when including all deaths related to heroin, even if no opioid analgesic was present, indicating that lower rates of opioid analgesic overdose mortality were not offset by higher rates of heroin overdose mortality. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, our results suggest a link between medical cannabis laws and lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality.”
In a written statement to Reuters Health, lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber said: “Most of the discussion on medical marijuana has been about its effect on individuals in terms of reducing pain or other symptoms. The unique contribution of our study is the finding that medical marijuana laws and policies may have a broader impact on public health.”
Added co-author Colleen L. Barry in USA Today: “[The study's findings] suggest the potential for many lives to be saved. … We can speculate … that people are completely switching or perhaps supplementing, which allows them to lower the dosage of their prescription opioid.”
Nationwide, overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics have increased dramatically over the past decade. While fewer than 4,100 opiate-induced fatalities were reported for the year 1999, by 2010 this figure rose to over 16,600 according to an analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control.
An abstract of the JAMA study, “Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010,” see online here.
Also see Recent Research on Medical Marijuana & Chronic Pain in NORML's Library Chronic Pain link