A bill has been presented in Colorado that would make it the third state in the US to set a standard for drivers’ THC blood levels. The measure has been rejected three times previously, including during a special session vote earlier this year where it failed in the state Senate on a 17-17 vote.
Mesa County Republican Senator Steve King is not giving up, however, because he genuinely believes that passing a THC DUI limit will save lives.
King explained, “People are dying on our highways and byways as a result of people driving under the influence of THC, just like with alcohol 20 years ago.”
On Friday, the Transportation Legislation Review committee will vote on whether the bill should be introduced in January.
The proposed legislation would limit drivers to having no more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in their system while operating a vehicle.
Those who are opposed to the measure believe that the limit is arbitrary and that THC levels do not indicate how impaired a marijuana smoker is. THC can potentially stay in someone’s system for a long time after they have smoked, putting medical marijuana patients at a constant risk of being arrested for a DUI.
Michael Elliott, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, explained, “We risk convicting people of an impaired driving infraction when they’re not actually impaired. That is an injustice that is a major problem.”
Elliot also said that opponents of the bill would be less frustrated with the measure if the THC limit was raised to 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood. That way, “there’s more guarantee that the person is actually impaired.”
The only other states to have THC limits for drivers are Ohio and Nevada. Pennsylvania’s Health Department also has a THC guideline which can be introduced in driving violation cases.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, there has been a recent increase in marijuana-related driving fatalities. Marijuana advocates disagree, however, arguing that marijuana-related car crash data is incomplete.