Bill to Set Standards on Driving Under Influence of Marijuana Passes Colorado Senate

The Colorado Senate has passed a measure that would make it easier to convict someone of driving while under the influence of marijuana. The measure will now move to the House, according to The Denver Post.

A similar measured passed the Colorado House last year, but was defeated in the Senate. The bill would make it a crime to drive with more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC—the psychoactive chemical in marijuana—in a person’s blood.

While it is already a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Colorado, there has been no standard for when a person is legally considered “high.”

“All we’re saying is don’t smoke pot and then get behind the wheel,” State Senator Steve King, who sponsored the bill, recently told a local newspaper. He noted that although traffic fatalities in Colorado have decreased over the last four years, traffic fatalities related to THC have increased by 50 percent over the same period.

State Senator Morgan Carroll, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the bill could hurt legitimate medical marijuana patients. She said research is not conclusive about a specific THC level at which everyone is impaired. “If you’re going to put science in the statute, it needs to be pretty good science,” she told The Denver Post in January.

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    Bill Crane

    May 4, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    An exact process of collecting and measuring THC levels would actually go a long way toward legalization (at least to some extent) of marijuana. Responsible use of marijuana should be similar to “responsible” use of alcoholic beverages – with similar laws and restrictions. The research I reviewed shows that ONLY blood testing provides any reliable measurement. However, the 5n/ml may be a little too low. I would put it no lower than 7.0 n/ml. Urine or saliva testing did not produce reliable results.

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    May 3, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    This statement by Steve King abo9ut 50% increased fatalities is the first I have encountered, and runs against some studies which suggested that cannabis use reduced accidents– because users were more hypercautious (drug warrior word: “paranoid”) and reduced their speed.

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    Michael W. Shore, M.D.

    May 3, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Even “legitimate” marijuana patients are likely to have motor impairments and heightened distractability if they use marijuana and drive.

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    May 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    She is rite that science had better be dam good because I know people that smoke all day and never caused an accident or have had a ticket.Ill tell you something if you do this with Marijuana you had better come up with the same solution with man made prescriptions.

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    Patrick Hauer

    May 3, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    No one could possible know how many days to wait before driving their car after smoking. This could generate a whole new market of instant urine/blood testing methods so that people could be responsible before driving their cars.

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