Newsbrief: German Supreme Court Rejects "Zero Tolerance" Drugged Driving Law in Cannabis Case 1/21/05

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http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/371/germany.shtml

Germany's Federal Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, has ruled that tiny traces of THC in a driver's bloodstream are not sufficient to convict him of driving while intoxicated and punish him by revoking his driver's license, the German news web site Tagesschau reported. Until the ruling, any trace of illegal drugs in one's system would have been sufficient for a conviction. The January 13 ruling overturned a lower court ruling in Karlsruhe.

In that case, an unnamed Karlsruhe man was convicted of driving under the influence after having smoked hashish the previously night -- 16 hours before he was arrested. Police tested and arrested him after he came to a police station on an unrelated matter. The test showed he had less than 0.5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in his system. But the German high court held because advances in drug testing technology allowed the most minuscule traces to drugs to be detected, German courts must reinterpret what constitutes drug driving. It suggested a level of 1.0 nanograms of THC may be a reasonable cut-off point.

The German court ruling contradicts model drugged driving laws crafted by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy and a private drug testing firm, the Walsh Group. That model law calls for a "per se" assumption that any amount of an illicit drug is evidence of impaired driving and is being pushed in state legislatures across the country.

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Issue #371 -- 1/21/05

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Editorial: Unfortunate Bedfellows | Following Oklahoma's Lead, States Target Cold Remedies in Fight Against Methamphetamine | Mexican Stand-Off: Government Sends in Tanks, Soldiers in Effort to Retake Prisons from Narcos | Blogging: A Stunning Admission by Baltimore Police Officials, and More | This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: German Supreme Court Rejects "Zero Tolerance" Drugged Driving Law in Cannabis Case | Newsbrief: Mass Arrests of Drug Users in Iran | Newsbrief: Marijuana Bills Filed -- Medical Marijuana in New Jersey, Decriminalization in New Hampshire | Newsbrief: Resistance to Methadone Clinics Rears Head in Virginia, Washington State | Newsbrief: King County Bar Association (Seattle) Calls for Legal, Regulated Drug Markets | Newsbrief: Texas Bill Would Ban Drug Offenders from Entering Certain San Antonio Neighborhoods | Newsbrief: Last Week's Supreme Court Ruling Pays Off for New York Woman | Newsbrief: Martha Stewart, Prisoner Advocate | Newsbrief: MPP Assists Poor Montana Medical Marijuana Patients | Newsbrief: Maine Activist Providing Medical Marijuana Indicted for Trafficking and Cultivation | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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