Thoughts on economics and liberty

Why has Somnath Bharti not apologised to the Ugandan women who tested negative to his FORCED urine test?

Ashwin Mahesh wrote on FB:

The most damaging aspect of the 'forced drug tests' in the Bharti case is that the women tested negative. At that point, the only possible thing left to say is 'sorry'.

That these women tested negative was made clear the next day in newspaper reports.

Unfortunately, there are comments being made on FB that blood tests were needed, not urine test. That is INCORRECT. 

Evidence suggests that blood tests are far LESS reliable than urine tests.


Because marijuana stays in the bloodstream for a short time, blood tests for marijuana are usually not used, except in the case of automobile accidents and some roadside sobriety check points. Blood or saliva tests can show current intoxication. However, unlike blood alcohol concentration tests, they do not indicate a level of intoxication or impairment.
On the other hand, urine tests for marijuana metabolites can only show recent marijuana use, not intoxication or impairment, because of the time required between smoking and the metabolites being eliminated in the urine. However, because many employers have a zero tolerance for drug use, most workplaces use urine tests for any recent use of drugs. Most researchers agree that urine tests for marijuana can detect the presence of the drug in the body for up to 13 days.


The basic drug test types and their approximate detection times are shown in the table below.






Marijuana – Single Use

1-7+ days

12-24 hrs


Not validated

(0 -24 hours?)

Marijuana – Regular Use

7-100 days

2-7 days



1-3 days

24 hours


1-3 days

1-3 days

Heroin, Opiates

1-4 days

1-3 days


3-7 days

1-3 days

The most popular kind of drug test is the urine test, which can detect marijuana for days or weeks after use. Note that urine tests do not detect the psychoactive component in marijuana, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), and therefore in no way measure impairment; rather, they detect the non-psychoactive marijuana metabolite THC-COOH, which can linger in the body for days and weeks with no impairing effects. Because of THC-COOH's unusually long elimination time, urine tests are more sensitive to marijuana than other commonly used drugs. According to a survey by Quest Diagnostics, 50% of all drug test positives are for marijuana.


The detection times in urine are significantly greater than detection times in blood,

Happy to be corrected by any expert.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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7 thoughts on “Why has Somnath Bharti not apologised to the Ugandan women who tested negative to his FORCED urine test?
  1. Alex C.

    If detection times are longer for a given test, how do you claim it to be more reliable instead of less? What if the woman was in Rishikesh a week ago and partook of a sadhu’s smoky prasad? There is no idiotic “War on Drugs” in India. If you’re not testing intoxication levels, what are you testing? Moral turpitude? Again, please don’t throw the US-inspired post-1985 criminalisation of marijuana use rule-book at this. This is a part of Indian culture, and damned if Western idiots are going to change it. And rules are meant to be enforced by police. Not goondas.

    Apropos Somnathji: “Sorry” is not going to cut it. A civil-cum-criminal case is in order (kidnapping, physical assault and confinement, outraging the modesty of a woman, harassment of a foreign national, mental torture…the list goes on).

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    I have already expressed my concerns at the “raid” which did not consider basic questions like: “what are you testing?”. No strategy, no clue about the law/legal issues/ moral issues/ issues re: liberty was prepared by Somnath in his mad rush to do his “raid”.

    I would have liked a fundamental think by AAP about drugs/prostitution, etc. What kind of society do they want, and why?

    This post did not go into these questions, but merely on the question of the test, and what it proved (if anything).

    The claims on FB (by a lot of people) that a urine test is less valid (for whatever purpose) than a blood test, is the issue. The question is about DRUG USE, not about intoxication. Drug use can be detected for longer through urine tests than through blood tests. That’s the only point I’ve validated.


  3. Alex C.

    If drug use can be detected for longer using a urine test, then its an inferior test. Past use of marijuana, without possession, and without intoxication, is a ridiculous “crime” (criminalised under US pressure), and is indeed legal (though regulated) in many regions of the country. Good luck in the courts with such an allegation, if its the sole “crime.”

  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Alex, if a law prohibits a drug, its “past” use is also illegal. Anyway, that’s not the line being taken by Somnath supporters on FB.

  5. Alex C.

    Check the law again. Marijuana use is legal (but regulated) in many jurisdictions. If a user migrates to New Delhi from Varanasi or Amsterdam, and tests positive in a urine test, there is no crime. Good luck testing your (and Somnathji’s) theory “if a law prohibits a drug, its “past” use is also illegal” in the courts. It is absurd.

    By “Somnath supporters,” do you mean the goondas who were with him in the mob?

  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    [27. Punishment for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropicsubstance.-
    Whoever, consumes any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance shall bepunishable,-
    (a) where the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance consumed is cocaine,morphine, diacetylmorphine
    or any other narcotic drug or any psychotropicsubstance as may be specified in this
    behalf by the Central Government bynotification in the Official Gazette, with rigorous
    imprisonment for a termwhich may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to
    twentythousand rupees; or with both; and
    (b) where the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance consumed is other thanthose specified in or
    under cluase (a), with imprisonment for a term whichmay extend to six months, or with fine
    which may extend to ten thousandrupees or with both.]

    – I don’t have time to examine what “consumes” means in this context.

  7. Alex C.

    10. Power of State Government to permit, control and regulate.

    (1) Subject to the provisions of section 8, the State Government may, by rules-

    (a) permit and regulate-

    (i) the possession, transport, import inter-State, export inter-State, warehousing, sale, purchase, consumption and use of poppy straw.

    (ii) the possession, transport, import inter-State, export inter-State, sale, purchase, consumption and use of opium;

    (iii) the cultivation of any cannabis plant, production, manufacture, possession, transport, import inter-State, export inter-State, sale, purchase, consumption or use of cannabis (excluding charas);

    (iv) the manufacture of medicinal opium or any preparation containing any manufactured drug from materials which the maker is lawfully entitled to possess;

    It’s legal in Rjasthan, for example (see A habitual user from Rajasthan can migrate to New Delhi. It is not a crime unless the consumption is done in New Delhi itself.

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