Medical marijuana: Rep. Claire Levy talks about HB 1261, which sets driving limits for THC
Cannabis Therapy Institute release:
Medical Marijuana Patients May Lose Driving Privileges
ACTION ALERT: Stop HB 11-1261, the THC/DUI Bill
In the third major attack on medical marijuana patient rights in Colorado to come out of the state legislature this year, House Bill 11-1261 was introduced on Mon., Feb. 14, 2011. This bill would declare that anyone found driving with 5 nanogram/milliliters or more of THC in their bloodstream would be guilty of "DUI per se" and subject to a misdemeanor offense and the possible revocation of their driver's license.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder) and Rep. Mark Waller (R-El Paso County), both members of the House Judiciary Committee. The bill was introduced by Rep. Levy, an attorney, in order to curb an imaginary crisis of "stoned drivers" in Colorado. Despite repeated requests from CTI, Rep. Levy has failed to point to one case where marijuana was the sole cause of any traffic accident.
Research shows that there is no correlation between THC blood levels and impairment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study in 2004 which shows that chronic cannabis users, such as medical marijuana patients, normally average a much higher concentration of THC in their bloodstream than 5 ng/mL AND that this does not necessarily cause impairment.
Dr. Robert J. Meladmede, a University of Colorado biology professor and CEO of Colorado Springs-based Cannabis Science, says the Rep. Levy's thinking on this is backwards. He stated that casual users will have often have lower levels than 5 ng/mL and may actually be impaired, while frequent users will have higher levels in their bloodstream, yet not be impaired. Click here to read Dr. Bob's full letter and research:
NANOGRAM LIMIT ARBITRARY, NOT OBJECTIVE
Rep. Levy states that currently there is no nanogram limit on THC and that currently any amount of THC is enough to prove impairment. She believes that setting a limit will make the law more objective. However, in the absence of any problem, this will only make it easier for courts to convict patients of impaired driving, whether they were actually impaired or not. 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. Medical marijuana patients are once again treated like second-class citizens for their choice of medicine. Rep. Levy wants to force cannabis patients back onto their prescription medications, which are not routinely tested for by law enforcement.
FORCED BLOOD EXTRACTION
This bill will also force anyone suspected of driving under the influence of THC to give their blood to the government. Currently, a suspected impaired driver has the choice of a urine test or a blood test. Since the nanogram limits can only be tested for in the blood, patients will be subjected to an involuntary extraction of their blood if they are ever stopped by the police.
DMV TO ISSUE PATIENT ID CARDS
The Department of Revenue stated last year that they intended to issue their new medical marijuana patient ID cards through the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. Will patients now be asked to surrender their driver's licenses when they apply for a medical marijuana card? This is another example of the state requiring you to surrender your Constitutional rights to cannabis medicine in exchange for the "privilege" of driving.
THIRD MEDICAL MARIJUANA ATTACK BILL
This is the third bill introduced in the state legislature this year attacking the rights of patients (HB1243, the Patient Rights Elimination "Cleanup Bill", HB1250, the Medical Marijuana Edible Products Ban, and HB1261, the Medical Marijuana DUI Bill). All have been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. If you haven't written them yet on these bills, please do so now. See below.
The medical marijuana industry gave $10 million to the state in application fees last year. That money is now being used to eliminate the industry, destroy patient rights, and put MMC's out of business. CTI is committed to fighting industry over-regulation and preserving patient rights. If you are an MMC-applicant, please become a CTI sponsor and become a partner in the fight to protect patient rights and your business livelihood. If you are a patient, please ask your MMC-applicant to support CTI. WE NEED YOUR HELP -- Please be generous.
CALL AND EMAIL HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
Sample letter to House Judiciary Committee
"Please vote no on HB1261 and do more research on the bill to set a nanogram limit on cannabis. There is no evidence showing a link between THC blood concentration and impairment. Other drugs that impair people, like oxycontin, do not have nanogram limits. This bill is unfair to medical marijuana patients and will force patients back on prescription medications that do not have nanogram levels and are not routinely tested for by the police. Please at least include an exemption for medical marijuana patients."
COPY AND PASTE EMAILS:
Please send CTI copies of any letters you send:
Contact your local Reps too:
House Judiciary Committee Members Phone and Email
BOB GARDNER, Chair
Colorado State Representative, District 21
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2191
MARK BARKER, Vice Chair
Colorado State Representative, District 17
Capitol Phone: 303-866-3069
Colorado State Representative, District 51
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2947
Colorado State Representative, District 5
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2925
Colorado State Representative, District 3
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2921
Colorado State Representative, District 18
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2932
CLAIRE LEVY -- SPONSOR
Colorado State Representative, District 13
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2578
Colorado State Representative, District 49
Asssistant Minority Caucus Chair
Colorado State Representative, District 36
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2942
Colorado State Representative, District 65
Capitol Phone: 303-866-3706
MARK WALLER -- SPONSOR
Assistant Majority Leader
Colorado State Representative, District 15
Capitol Phone: (303)866-5525
More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana: Video of rep shredding MMJ amendment shows no spitting by advocate."