Bipartisan bill would set THC limit for Colorado drivers

A bill that sets a legal limit of how much THC individuals can have in their blood before being considered too impaired to drive is making its way through the general assembly.

Representatives Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, and Claire Levy, D-Denver, are pushing the legislation in part to augment current law that makes it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs.

“There is already a bill that says you cannot drive under the influence of any drug to the extent it impairs your ability to drive,” Levy said. “This is just quantifying the amount of THC you can have in your blood system.”

“Right now we have, in effect, a zero tolerance policy.”

Levy said her bill sets the bar for a person to be charged with a DUI per se at 5 nanograms or over. It will make it a misdemeanor to drive while under the influence and could result in the loss of a drivers’ license based on administrative determination.

Waller said that the bill essentially brings Marijuana intoxication in line with laws governing alcohol.

He said that after looking at a number of studies conducted by the Criminal Defense Bar and district attorneys 5 nanograms appeared to be a reasonable amount.

“There was a lot of work to come to that 5 nanogram level,” Waller said. “It should be noted it is not just THC in your system, it is 5 nanograms of active THC.”

The Cannabis Therapy Institute issued a release today that called into question data showing 5 nanograms as an accurate representation of intoxication. They pointed to studies showing that THC levels did not accurately reflect the level of impairment.

“Instead of setting an arbitrary limit on THC in the bloodstream, more
research needs to be done on better roadside impairment tests and training to help determine whether people are impaired from any cause. There is no nanogram limit for oxycontin or other drugs that may impair drivers,” the release said.

“Medical marijuana patients are once again treated like second-class
citizens for their choice of medicine,” the release stated. 

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