Colorado House of Reps. Pass Marijuana D-U-HIGH Measure
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 05/15/2012 in Medical Marijuana Laws
On Tuesday, the Colorado House of Representatives passed a long-debated bill that sets the blood standard limit for THC in a driver’s system. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
The bill faces an uncertainty in the state Senate, and will be debated later in the day, where a Republican senator who changed her vote to support this measure earlier this year was absent. The missing vote of the senator could mean another defeat for this particular proposal, in order to make Colorado the third state with a blood-level limit for marijuana, similar to the nation’s blood-alcohol limit of .08. So far, seventeen states have some sort of blood limit for drugged driving convictions, which is including drugs other than marijuana.
Marijuana activists are fighting the proposal that passed the house Tuesday, claiming that blood THC tests are an unfair gauge of impairment. Due to the body processing marijuana differently than alcohol, a clear blood limit could endanger marijuana patients who aren’t impaired. However, sponsors of this measure say that more drivers in the state are using marijuana, and the state needs a marijuana analogy to the nationally accepted blood-alcohol limit. Cannabis activists have prevailed twice, but they hope to sink the third attempt of this bill when it goes into a vote in the Colorado state Senate, potentially on Wednesday. Marijuana activists also argue that marijuana-related convictions are up in Colorado because more police officers are trained to look for stoned drivers, not because there is any form of an epidemic.
The measure would limit THC to five nanograms per milliliter of blood, and as driving under the influence is already considered illegal, convictions rely on officer observations and blood tests. With the passing of this bill, it would make it simpler to convict drivers that have a blood THC level of five nanograms or higher.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator from Mesa County, Steve King, has said that Colorado is currently in the midst of a doped driving epidemic. King has argued that the proliferation of medical marijuana has led to a drastic increase in drugged driving. Colorado lawmakers have considered marijuana DUI measures before, but failed to agree on them. A similar bill to this one failed last year by a single vote in the state Senate, and another version of that died last week when the regular session concluded.
On top of Colorado considering this measure, Washington State will also consider a five nanograms THC driving limit this fall on their ballot measure pertaining to marijuana legalization.