Marijuana: Rob Corry thinks THC driving limits may violate constitution, disabilities act

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Rob Corry.
Yesterday, HB 1261, Representative Claire Levy's bill to set THC driving limits, survived its first legislative test, passing out of committee by a 6-2 vote. But medical marijuana attorney Rob Corry continues to argue against the bill -- see his letter to legislators below. In his view, the measure won't make roads safer and could spur lawsuits.

"There will be extensive litigation," he allows. "First and foremost, there'll be a drastic increase in the amount of people criminally prosecuted. Many of those people will hire lawyers, and some of them may hire me -- and if they do, I'll certainly assert the unconstitutionality of this new bill as a defense in the criminal case. And I will also evaluate whether to bring an action under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act."

Such an approach would certainly be unusual from a legal standpoint. After all, the ADA is a federal law -- and marijuana continues to be illegal in the eyes of the feds whether or not it's being used for medical purposes. But, in Corry's words, the ADA "prohibits government from discriminating against someone because of their disability -- which is exactly what this does. And passing a one-size-fits-all five nanogram standard is not an accommodation."

Numerous MMJ advocates suggest that cannabis use doesn't impair driving ability -- an assertion that may seem strained to folks who've either experienced impairment when using marijuana recreationally or have seen others in that condition. But Corry believes that the situation is different for patients.

claire levy large photo.jpg
Claire Levy.
"There may be a case where an occasional recreational user who might smoke a joint on a Friday night once a month could be impaired immediately after consuming a significant quantity," he concedes. "But the same analysis does not apply to a medical user who is merely following a doctor's recommendation. That person is in the position of being able to compensate for any effects the medicine can have. Many patients tell me that, for them, medical marijuana doesn't have any psychoactive effects that would cause them to feel high. They tell me, 'All it does is eliminate the pain,' and they don't see that as being high. They see it as eliminating a debilitating condition. So patients have an entirely different perspective than the occasional user.

"Also, science is literally all over the place on this issue. I'm not a scientist by trade, although I have a background in it, and science can't agree on what the number should be. I think the legislature chose the number 'five' somewhat arbitrarily. I'm not sure why it wasn't four, or why it wasn't six. And theoretically, the government is not allowed to act in an arbitrary fashion."

Besides, Corry notes, "as far as the government's concerned, it's already illegal to operate a vehicle when impaired by marijuana. So the view that it's perfectly legal to drive stoned is simply false. It's not legal to drive impaired on Oxycontin, it's not legal to drive impaired on any medication. But just taking medication doesn't mean a patient is automatically impaired. And marijuana is a medication, which is very different from alcohol. Alcohol isn't a medicine, and the right to use marijuana medically is in the Colorado constitution."

That said, Corry isn't dead-set against any bill dealing with THC impairment. Indeed, he could live with the five nanogram standard as long as the bill would establish "an affirmative defense -- namely, that they're a medical marijuana patient, they have a doctor's recommendation, and they understand its effects and compensated for them, especially if there's no evidence of bad driving.

"The majority of DUI incidents don't involve an accident. Quite frequently, people are pulled over for something like speeding, which isn't evidence of impairment, and a police officer smells marijuana. At that point, people will immediately assert their status as a medical marijuana patient, thinking that's a positive thing -- but it often brings hot coal down on their head, because law enforcement will then charge them with a DUI. That's already happening, and this bill would open that up and make the situation even worse."

Corry adds that "Representative Levy is one of the more thoughtful legislators over there, and I think her intentions are good. So it's difficult for me to come out so strongly against the bill. But the effect of this bill is going to be hugely negative for patients. That's why I'm coming out against it."

Page down to read Corry's letter to legislators opposing HB 1261, as well as the bill itself:


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16 comments
High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Why smoke and drive when you can blaze and fly at the 420 Smoke Shacks Breckenridge, see videos of the uStream via iPhone 4 from this weekends Tour de Shack http://420.co

JumpinJackFlash
JumpinJackFlash

This will be nothing more than another tool for law enforcement to harass medical marijuana users. Just the mere smell of any medical marijuana will result in a half day trip to the hospital and a needle stuck in your arm, all from just picking up your medication at a dispensary or caregiver.

Corry also said 1284 was unconstitutional and that he would challenge it yet has done nothing, but then why should he when he is raking it in from the dispensaries helping them get in line with the law? I highly suspect he will do the same here. Face it people, we fought long and hard to get where we are and the people that would have had us in jail 10 years ago are the same ones getting rich off of it now at OUR expense.

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

How often do we read in these types of articles about Marinol®, the alleged "marijuana equivalent when the discussion involves concerns about medical cannabis? Well, what is the official warning about driving and operating heavy machinery when taking Marinol®?---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or affect your judgment. Do not engage in activities requiring alertness and clear thinking, such as driving or using machinery, until you know how this medication affects you and until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Alcohol can worsen these side effects. Avoid alcoholic beverages."

http://www.webmd.com/drugs/dru...---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"...until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. "

"...until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. "

"...until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. "

"...until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. "

"...until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. "

So where's the controversy? It's either the same darn thing as cannabis or it's different, the Know Nothing prohibitionists can't have it both ways.

Make no mistake, the language of that warning is FDA and DEA approved. The manufacturer of Marinol®, the FDA, and the DEA state that people can in fact drive safely after taking Marinol®, which is supposedly pot in a pill. It's time to make up your minds people, one way or the other.

BTW, the law would apply to people taking Marinol® as well as medical cannabis unless they can tell the difference, and if they can tell the difference in an immunoassay, doesn't that destroy the argument that medical cannabis and Marinol® are the same darn thing? Perhaps the DEA and FDA don't know how to tell if someone can't drive because of impairment?

Enquiring minds want to know!

(OK, we actually already know that the enemies of freedom are hypocrites beyond compare. But if you want, I will taunt you a second time.)

Duchess Of Dank
Duchess Of Dank

Here's the vote:

DelGrosso: YesDuran: ExcusedKagan: ExcusedLee: NoLevy: YesNikkel: YesRyden: ExcusedSonnenberg: NoWaller: YesBarker: YesGardner B.: Yes

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

No one has been prosecuted under the new laws, hence no chance for Mr. Cory to actually defend anyone. 1284, 109, and all the other bills are still in the making and not being enforced. Cory does speak at most or all legislative hearings and beyond and is a voice of the patients to say the least. If anyone ever gets arrested for violating 1284 or whatever happens at the end of the legislation, Cory will be there to do his job as a criminal defense attorney. Until then there really isn't much to be done but watch and wait to see how law enforcement decides how they are to enforce and to interpret the new laws and of course let them make the first move against patients.

huh.
huh.

^ he's right ya know.

Duchess Of Dank
Duchess Of Dank

oh yeah, this nothing fair about this at all. What's worse is that this effects people even if they're not a patient.

also, I think I was reading a few days ago that the FDA is pulling marinol off the market.

JumpinJackFlash
JumpinJackFlash

Learn the difference between 'prosecuted' and 'involvement'.

JumpinJackFlash
JumpinJackFlash

You think someone needs to be prosecuted in order for the constitutionality of a law to be challenged? Someone is giving you some bad advice.

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

No way. What's happening is they're quietly moving organic THC to schedule III so they can give Sativex the thumbs up. Talk about some behind the looking glass "reasoning", they're scheduling it as an analogue of synthetic THC because they can't bear to admit that THC has legitimate medical utility. So now the natural chemical comes from it's synthetic duplicate in this legal fiction. I mean, christ on a crutch, why even bother with publishing dictionaries? These people obviously subscribe to the Humpty Dumpty School of Sophistry.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master, that’s all.” Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!"

----- Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, (1872)

Duchess Of Dank
Duchess Of Dank

people need to keep tabs to know who NOT to vote for.

I don't have too much information on Sonnenberg, however I've noticed that he always votes NO on these bills <3

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

Examples of cases where the plaintiff had no involvement other than a belief that the law was unconstitutional in Colorado please. That's a pretty bold claim you've made, you really should back it up. This would be the Colorado Constitution so stuff from other states is irrelevant, although I'd sure be interesting in hearing in examples from them as well as Federal. C'mon, admit it, you just made that up because you don't like Mr. Corry.

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