Lab: Arizona Corporation Commission's Republicans did not take illicit drugs - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Lab: Arizona Corporation Commission's Republicans did not take illicit drugs

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Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2011 7:29 pm | Updated: 11:23 am, Fri Aug 19, 2011.

It's official: The three Republican members of the Arizona Corporation Commission are not smoking marijuana.

Results of voluntary drug tests, released Thursday, also showed that hair and urine samples from Gary Pierce, Brenda Burns and Bob Stump tested negative for amphetamines, opiates, cocaine and PCP, the last being an animal tranquilizer.

The urine tests tend to show recent drug use; the 1.5-inch hair samples can find drug use going back 90 days.

Whether they're affected by anything else, however, remains unknown: The commissioners did not agree to be tested for prescription drugs they were taking that might affect judgment or for alcohol.

The tests followed the discovery of what the Arizona Department of Public Safety called marijuana "dust'' last month in a private bathroom accessible only to commissioners and their staffs. Pierce led the call for the tests, saying it is necessary to prove to Arizonans that he and his colleagues are not impaired when making decisions on everything from electric rates to securities regulations.

The two Democrats on the panel declined to be tested, with Paul Newman saying such testing, absent any evidence someone has committed a crime, is a violation of constitutional rights.

Pierce also had asked DPS to bring in drug-sniffing dogs to search the commission offices, a proposal Newman termed "political hysteria.'' DPS denied the request, noting the amount of marijuana found was too little to even weigh.

Pierce did not immediately respond Thursday afternoon to requests for comment on the limits of what the laboratories were asked to find.

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