Colorado Senate Passes Marijuana DUI Law

 by lucy

On Tuesday, the Colorado Senate passed a measure that would put a limit on the THC level of drivers in the state.  Similar legislation has failed six times in the last three years in the state legislature, but it finally passed this week on a 24-11 vote.

Now, House Bill 1325 will go to Governor John Hickenlooper who will decide if it is signed into law.  In the past, Hickenlooper has expressed support of a marijuana DUI guideline for Colorado.

Under the law, drivers pulled over with more than 5 nanograms THC/milliliter of blood would be considered to be driving under the influence.  The offense would be treated like an alcohol DUI.

The bill was only just introduced last week.  It is an exact copy of a bill that was shot down by the Senate earlier this year.

Opponents of the bill believe that the 5 nanogram limit is far too low.  It has been argued that many marijuana users, medical marijuana patients in particular, could potentially always have that much THC in their system, due to the frequency with which they smoke.  Other opponents argue that the amount of THC in one’s blood does not dictate  how impaired they are.  While there is a direct correlation between blood alcohol content and impairment, that concept does not necessarily ring true for marijuana.  Additionally, THC is stored in the user’s fat, meaning that it does not leave the body as quickly as alcohol does.

HB 1325 allows for people charged with driving under the influence of marijuana to challenge the charge that they were too impaired to drive.  Representative Mark Waller explained, “For example, if you did not exhibit poor driving, you can put that on as evidence to say, ‘Look my driving was not poor, I’m not unsafe to operate a motor vehicle.’”

HB 1325 applies to all drivers, regardless of whether or  not they are a medical marijuana patient.



7 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. 0

    spkavyo said on May 8, 2013

    Shit, sounds like medical users are up the creek with this one. I've had a lot of practice driving stoned so I don't agree with a blood nanogram limit. If you're too wasted to drive on whatever substance, then don't drive.

  2. 2

    mrfantasm said on May 8, 2013

    I would probably have over 5 nanongrams in my blood for a week after not smoking

  3. 0

    BlazinAlberts said on May 8, 2013

    Just gotta Obey the law

  4. 0

    CaliOC said on May 9, 2013

    There being strict because of the Roads an Mtns there. Drving to fast high around turns an hitting on coming traffic by crossing the yellow line. They dont want to fear that everyday. If 5 nanograms is wrong we hope they can get that changed an go forward with a real limit. Some people can Med on cannabis an in twenty minutes no longer be high an be able to drive safely an by the law. Cannabis does not give everybody a medicated effect that last two hours. My Avg. is 5 minutes to 45 minutes.

  5. 0

    HumCoast said on May 9, 2013

    Two years ago, I walked into a gas station in Colorado, purchased beer and drove through Phantom Canyon road smoking bowls and sipping brew. Now there's gonna be prairie dogs doing blood tests or what?

  6. 1

    dabs710 said on May 9, 2013

    Such a dumb bullshit law. Nothing scientific about it. I can be 5 ng / ml and seem completely sober. There already is a "test" for marijuana DUI… it's the same test if you took too much benadryl, cough syrup, sleeping pills, pain pills, etc. it's called a field sobriety test. This is just a big money maker for the cops and for dumb people who are paranoid of legalized marijuana smokers driving.

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