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Don't Let Grandma Drive Stoned

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ptg701

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From the North Coast News, Ocean Shores, WA 10/3/12:
In what may be the first case of its kind in Grays Harbor County, an Ocean Shores grandmother was cited for driving impairment caused by the use of medical marijuana.
Making the case even more unusual: The 78-year-old woman says she was handcuffed and had repeated requests to use a restroom denied by an Ocean Shores Police officer.
On the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 22, Carole Antun had just picked up medical marijuana at the Rainbow Gardens Collective. She turned right onto Point Brown Avenue and, within a half-mile, was pulled over by an Ocean Shores policeman.
According to the report of Officer Aaron Glanz, he pulled Antun over for having two wheels in the bike lane for an extended period of time. “I was able to smell the overwhelming odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle,” Glanz wrote.
Antun told the officer that she has a medical marijuana prescription (“card”), and that she had consumed marijuana recently.
Glanz had her do “field sobriety tests,” including standing on one leg for 30 seconds. Glanz judged that she failed the tests, and that her driving was impaired by marijuana.

Antun says she told the officer she needed to use the restroom, and would be able to do the tests better if he allowed her to do so. She says the officer denied her repeated requests.
“I explained I have a problem (with frequent urination) and I’m going in for surgery. That didn’t soften him at all,” Antun said. “We were there for quite a while.”
Glanz handcuffed Antun, placed her in the back of his patrol car, and started driving north on Point Brown Avenue. “I thought, ‘We’re going to the police station, at least he’ll let me use the bathroom there,’” Antun later said.
But Glanz continued driving past the police station. When Antun asked what was going on, she says he told her she was being transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital for a drug evaluation.
“I told him, ‘I really need to use the restroom.’ And he said, ‘Pee in the car,’” Antun said.
Carole Antun is 78 years old. She has six children and six grandchildren.
Ocean Shores Public Safety Chief Mike Styner, who oversees the police and fire departments, was asked if Antun was treated appropriately. (Antun called him last week and complained of her treatment.)
Styner has not responded to this question.
Like many things involving medical marijuana, driving impairment is somewhat of a gray area.
According to Rick Scott of the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Department, there is no legal level of intoxication regarding marijuana usage and driving. This is in sharp contrast to DUI cases involving alcohol consumption; the legal limit for driving after consuming alcohol is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, which can be tested by breath analyzers or blood draws.
Scott said that field sobriety tests are used to determine impaired driving when there is suspected marijuana and/or other drug use.
Scott said that there have been several cases in which cars have been wrecked and the driver had THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in his or her system, as well as other drugs.
Asked if the Sheriff’s Department has had any DUI cases in which only marijuana was involved, Scott said, “Not that I can recall.”
The North Coast News asked several questions of Styner, regarding the Ocean Shores Police Department’s use of handcuffs for DUI arrests and handling of requests by those arrested to use the restroom.
“We do not have a policy regarding restroom use by persons who have been arrested,” Styner responded.
Styner was also asked if he felt the handcuffing and alleged denial of use of the restroom by Glanz were appropriate.
Regarding handcuffing, Styner sent regulations from the “Use of Force” guidelines of the OSPD written by Rich McEachin, Styner’s predecessor as police chief. The wording includes, “Courts of final jurisdiction have declared that handcuffing a person is a use of force. Therefore, that use of force must be necessary. An arrest, in and of itself, does not establish imminent threat with an automatic requirement to handcuff all arrestees. The decision to handcuff an arrestee lies with the arresting officer. The decision to handcuff should be made based on facts the officer can articulate . . .
“The use of handcuffs without good reason may be unnecessary and an unjustified indignity. An officer must employ their decision consistent with personal safety, the arrestee’s safety and the human dignity of the arrestee.”
There is nothing in the Glanz arrest report that suggests Antun was a threat to his safety, or her own.
Glanz writes that he conducted the “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus,” “One Leg Stand” and “Walk and Turn” tests.
After the field tests, “I advised Antun she was under arrest for DUI,” according to Glanz’s report. “Antun was handcuffed . . . searched incident to arrest, advised of her Miranda Warnings and placed in the back seat of my patrol vehicle.”
He said he found “three clear plastic baggies with green vegetable-matter located inside the baggie” in Antun’s vehicle.
Glanz made no mentions of Antun requesting to use the restroom.
Glanz writes that he transported Antun to the hospital for contact with a Drug Recognition Expert and that there Antun “refused to complete any portion of the testing.” Antun says she was finally permitted to use the rest room at the hospital.
Glanz drove her back to the police station, where the officer wrote a criminal citation and informed her that her vehicle had been impounded. “I provided Antun a courtesy transport back to her residence,” Glanz concludes his report.
When Antun called this newspaper to complain of her treatment, it was suggested she share her concerns with the chief of police.
Asked if the OSPD is investigating the arrest of Antun, Styner replied, “We are not. Deputy Chief (Russ) Fitts contacted Ms.. Antun and she stated she was satisfied with our response and wanted no further action.”
According to Fitts, “Chief Styner received a voice mail message from Ms. Antun informing him that (the North Coast News) had suggested that she call the chief and that she wanted to discuss her arrest and the actions of an officer. Chief Styner asked me to contact Ms. Antun to find out her concerns. I was able to reach Ms. Antun by telephone and she and I had a private conversation about some concerns she had regarding her arrest and one of our officers.
“Ms. Antun said that she was not happy about being arrested but after her arrest process she had a pleasant conversation with the officer and felt that he seemed like a fine man and father and I concurred with her opinion. I asked her if she wanted to file a formal complaint on the officer and she asked that I not do that, but would rather that I discuss her concerns with him and not take any further actions. I asked her again if she was certain that she did not want to file a complaint and she said she was sure.”
Antun’s version of this is slightly different. She said she is considering what to do next, and is still not satisfied with how Glanz treated her. “He was very rude to me, and there was no call for it,” she said.
A self-described “hemp activist,” Antun says she has been using medical marijuana for years. A native of New York, she lived in Seattle until three months ago, when she moved to Ocean Shores.
“I came here because medical marijuana is legal in Washington,” she said. “I’m only living on my Social Security so I couldn’t afford to stay in Seattle. I met someone who lives here in Ocean Shores and came to visit and thought it was very beautiful.”
Though she is still happy with Ocean Shores, she is upset with her treatment by the OSPD.
Monday afternoon, she was waiting for a return phone call from an attorney.