Pot DUI bill advances in Colo. House

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

DENVER (AP) - A bill to set a blood-content threshold to charge marijuana users with driving under the influence is advancing in the Colorado House.

Lawmakers there approved the proposal on a voice vote Tuesday after debate over whether 5 nanograms per milliliter was a reasonable level for a DUI offense.

Ohio and Nevada have a 2 nanogram limit and 12 states have zero tolerance laws for driving under the influence of an illegal drug.

Democratic Rep. Claire Levy tried to set the limit at 8 nanograms to ease concerns from medical marijuana advocates who say daily users of the drug develop a tolerance that may allow them to drive safely and would be unfairly punished with a 5 nanogram limit. Levy's amendment was rejected.

The bill faces a final vote in the House before it can advance to the Senate.

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  • by Gayle Location: Grand Junction on Mar 22, 2011 at 06:10 PM
    You either have THC in your blood or you don't, finding a level of pot use activity by testing the blood level I believe the scientists will prove to be impossible with Marijauna. It would be like trying to find out how many cigarettes somebody smoked during a 24 hour period by testing the blood level for nicotine. Impossible!!!
  • by Ray Location: GJ on Mar 22, 2011 at 03:04 PM
    I have used marijuana for many years..and have driven with some level of it in my blood for years..I have had 1 accident in 35 years of driving..and that is when I lost control on some black ice..Driving under the influence of marijuana DOES NOT compare to driving under the influence of alcohol..not even close...I challenge someone to set up a test..comparing someone who has been drinking...smoking pot..or being sleep deprived..I bet the pot smoker out performs them all hands down..it is a witch hunt..pure and simple...People who have never smoked pot think that anybody who does is some CRAZY guy..when actually..he is your next door neighbor who drives to work everyday..no problem. Talking on your cell phone..texting are FAR more dangerous than a man behind the wheel after smoking some pot..it is just another way to incarcerate marijuana users..after all they are such "evil people"..LOL
    • reply
      by Robin on Mar 23, 2011 at 06:43 AM in reply to Ray
      I have never thought that marijuana smokers are "evil". My uncle smoked it for the last years of his life for Lou Gehrig's desease. This was the only way he could cure his pain, or even eat. Driving right after smoking pot does impair the senses. Just as texting, or using cell phone distracts you while driving. I just think that there needs to be some sort of regulation and laws set on the issue.
  • by Robin Location: Grand Junction, CO on Mar 22, 2011 at 02:22 PM
    I don't think that the tolerance can be set as zero. Medical Marijuana patients smoke every single day for pain or other ailments. There will be a level of THC in their blood if tested. I do agree that there needs to be some sort of study done to find out what the level of impairment is to be ok for driving. I do not agree with marijuana users driving around right after they smoke pot. They should be charged with a DUI if found impaired.
    • reply
      by Aspen on Mar 22, 2011 at 03:14 PM in reply to Robin
      The following link it to the National Highway transportation Safety Administration (NTHSA) http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/cannabis.htm While lengthy it does state and I have pasted the quote here. "It is inadvisable to try and predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone" That statement alone will allow a lawyer to argue a case against a DUID citation. I predict lawyers will be able to make a living defending drivers against an arbitrary number set by legislators in their rush to enact a law.
  • by John Location: 480 28 1/4 Rd trlr #48 on Mar 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM
    I honestly think that people who use medical marijuana should not be allowed to drive at all after using this drug at all for at least for 24 hours . I also think that the tollerance level should be set as zero . If they want to smoke marijuana after they are done driving around during the day and night fine. But they should certainly not be driving a vehicle after smoking marijuana. Or yes they should be charged with a DUI that is just like driving when drunk. And that law should not change at all. That is the way I look at it.
  • by Aspen Location: Grand Junction on Mar 22, 2011 at 11:47 AM
    I agree limits need to be set for driving under the influence of Marijuana. The proposed limit whether it be set at 2, 5,or 8 nanograms needs scientific studies done to back the claim confirming that level constitutes impairment. With alcohol studies have been done by having subjects consume alcohol and having motor skills tested and increasing levels. I have yet to find reference to similar studies done with marijuana.
    • reply
      by John on Mar 22, 2011 at 12:11 PM in reply to Aspen
      Aspen my friend I could not agree with you more on this subject. You are right their does need to be a limit set here.Just like there is for drinking alcoholic beverages and driving while impaired. A legal limit of zero.If they want to smoke pot fine.But they need to do it after they are done driving for the day and or night.
      • reply
        by Aspen on Mar 22, 2011 at 12:29 PM in reply to John
        Should the same zero tolerance be set for alcohol? I would feel safer if all drivers were restricted from engaging in activities that distract them from driving. Talking on cell phones, texting, eating, fiddling with the radio or changing CDs all of which can cause accidents. What I am saying is the legislature needs to engage science before acting otherwise it is just a witch hunt.
        • reply
          by Theist on Mar 22, 2011 at 02:58 PM in reply to Aspen
          This is the politicians trying to make themselves feel relevant and productive. What about a law against driving with ovaries?
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