Last year the Colorado Senate rejected a proposal which would have set a THC blood limit for drivers. A similar proposal is now back before the Colorado Senate.
Senate Bill 117 is a bill concerning the penalties for people who drive while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and recommends changes to DUI laws for both alcohol and drugs.
This bill would expand the definition of a DUI to include, “Driving when the driver’s blood, urine, or saliva contains any amount of a schedule I controlled substance, except for tetrahydrocannabinols; salvia divinorum; or synthetic cannabinoids, and driving when the defendant’s blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter in whole blood.”
At the time of driving or within two hours of driving, if someone’s THC levels were 5 or more nanograms per milliliter of blood, they would be considered to have been driving under the influence.
Many marijuana supporters oppose THC limit regulations for DUI, because the amount of THC in someone’s blood does not necessarily signify someone’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Some regular marijuana users may have levels of THC in their system that are above the legal limit at all times, even if they have not smoked recently, just due to the frequency of marijuana use.
Earlier versions of the bill stated that “habitual users” of controlled substances would not be permitted to drive, and that it would be a misdemeanor for them to do so. That language has been removed from the current version.
In the proposal, Senators were shown graphs that outlined an increase in driver’s testing positive for having used marijuana. The White house has encouraged all states to define standards for people driving under the influence of drugs. The Office of National Drug Control Policy is working to make drugged driving as large of a priority as drunk driving currently is.