Attorney General John Suthers decries Senate's inability to pass THC driving limit bill

Categories: Marijuana

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John Suthers.
When House Bill 1261, which would have set THC driving limits, was killed on Monday, many people -- including most of the bill's supporters, and just about all of its opponents -- were surprised. John Suthers, Colorado Attorney General and medical marijuana dispensary foe was outright angry.

In fact, he sent out a press release and decried the Senate's leadership in allowing the bill to die despite widespread support. The bill would have set the driving limit at five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, even though Westword pot critic William Breathes had a level nearly three times that when sober.

Yesterday, Suthers fired off a release noting that HB 1261 had been recommended by the bipartisan Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and that the five nanogram threshold would have been the highest for states with a THC driving limit. Here's Suthers's full statement:

It is dumbfounding that the Colorado Senate could fail to pass a per se marijuana bill. There are approximately 125,000 Coloradans authorized by state law to use medical marijuana plus countless others who use the drug without state authorization. As the chief law enforcement officer of the state and a former district attorney, I have seen the damage people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can inflict. The Senate's vote yesterday exhibited not only a lack of concern for the safety of Colorado drivers and pedestrians, but also an inability to lead.

The fact that some senators were succumbing to pressure from the marijuana industry while others may have been concerned the per-se limit was too high is no excuse for complete inaction on such a critical public safety issue. This is yet another public policy failure by the General Assembly to enact appropriate marijuana policies in Colorado."

Suthers said he hoped that lawmakers would take up the THC/DUI issue again in next year's legislative session.

Pot critic William Breathes tested three times over the proposed THC limit -- when sober! Read his account here.

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13 comments
Andrew
Andrew

Yes... because the unsolicited and uninformed opinion of a lawyer should trump science and medicine when science and medicine is the topic of debate and patients' livelihood is at stake. It is a category error to even regard John Suthers' opinion on this matter.

Guest
Guest

Suthers' persistant opposition to medical marijuana and gay marriage is ridiculous. Somebody please update his wiki page with facts to reflect his ignorance on these issues. What a waste of a public office and an embarassment to the state of colorado.

Robert
Robert

yes, but let's not forget that over 56% of the voters were gulled into re-electing this nit -- he may be Attorney General until January, 2015! What Suthers doesn't do for consumers, for victims of corporate fraud, for most Coloradans who need equity and can't afford a lawyer is at least as objectionable as his pathetic right-wing causes and opposition to cannabis.

Kwame
Kwame

somebody fuck this guy in the ass already smh

Docta
Docta

This just goes to show what a typical prosecutor is concerned with...making it easier to get his convictions regardless of circumstances or actual truth. This is why I despise many prosecutors. Getting convictions is like adding points to their score card. Just like the story Westword did about Carol Chambers, the DA for Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties ( http://www.westword.com/2011-0... ), many of these prosecutors just care about their conviction count and putting people behind bars. Under current law, it is entirely possible to convict someone of driving under the influence of marijuana, it just gives more burden of proof to the prosecutors because they actually have to show that without a doubt the person was driving dangerously or intoxicated and marijuana was the cause. Sorry Mr. Suthers, now the cops can't just pull over a random person, see their eyes are red, give them a blood test, find it over 5 nanograms and convict them of a DUI. The death of this bill is justice for the public and a blow to the ideals of a police state that Suthers and law enforcement lobbying groups promote regarding a constitutionally protected medicine. Well done CO Senate, you just moved up a peg in my book...that puts you at peg 1.

Ecodude
Ecodude

Clearly, the 5 nanogram threshold is an arbitrary, non scientific number pulled out of someone's ass that is not remotely an indication of impairment - 5 nanograms would only indicate that you used cannabis, possibly as long as a week ago. For once, our state lawmakers got it right in killing the bill.

As far as Suthers' sour grapes response is concerned, it shouldn't be a surprise. I don't think I have ever seen an attorney general who was so agenda driven in their public statements. Suthers' remarks reveal an ideologue who is clearly off his hinges, representing a point of view that is based solely on fear mongering rhetoric rather than scientific evidence and research. This man has been very public in indicating that his goal is to defeat amendment 20 in any way he can, because the will of the people does not fit his own view of how the world should be.

And he is far from being alone in his insanity. In response to those activists who exercised their democratic rights to appose 1261 in a formal and organized effort, Senator Harvey even remarked on record "Let's put these people in jail". Indeed. If you disagree with our myopic, ignorant views, you should be incarcerated. How else will we preserve the master race?

I can certainly see their point of view. After all, now that our state's strict anti immigration laws we have replaced immigrant workers with Colorado prison chain gangs, we need to shore up our labor pool with as many non violent prisoners as we can find. And who better to do that job than chronically ill patients? Pass laws with ridiculously low thresholds. Pop any patient who drives, whether they are impaired or not, and we have 125,000 new workers picking our melons for 4 dollars a day. Brilliant! Now if we could only figure out how to make our crop fields wheelchair accessible...

But seriously, history has taught us time and again that dogmatic opinions which are on the wrong side of history always die loudly. The more ignorant and indefensible their position, the louder they kick and scream as they are going out of existence. In that regard, this letter from Suthers is actually encouraging to me.

This increasingly desperate chatter on the part of the prohibitionists shows me that, on some level, they have to know they are facing the final curtain, and that they will ultimately find their place in history sitting next to the segregationists, anti suffrage activists, and slave traders.

Kwame
Kwame

Great statement.

Robert
Robert

Look on this lying hack and see a relict of Colorado far-right Republican past. Suthers remains because he is good at seeming to be a moderate, safe, aw-shucks kind of guy to Colorado's zombie-voters. Irrational fear -- it may be a limited resource, and Suthers is naturally upset that the Senate cut through all the prohibitionists' (virtually all of them public employees whose political activity would be felonious were they Federal employees) crap -- where are all the outraged citizens? All the parasites could come up with during the hearings was the unbelievably stupid testimony of some idiot who encouraged her autistic child to ride his bicycle directly into traffic that had the right-of-way. This child-endangering (or murderous) mother had the gall to complain that the driver who managed to avoid hitting her kid was using cannabis! Suthers is not even fully literate, but DU chooses to employ him to teach law. The man isn't dumbfounded; he's just plain dumb.

Thedawg
Thedawg

Yes!!!.. Great News!!.. This was flawed legislation which was not based on sound science.I'm not concerned that a blatant authoritarian like John Suthers is upset. I emailed both my representatives about this poor legislation, which was an actual first for me, maybe it actually made a difference.

Danky McDankelsworth
Danky McDankelsworth

"As the chief law enforcement officer of the state and a former district attorney," since when is an attorney, even attorney general, a law enforcement officer? and if he is a law enforcement officer he has no say how and what laws are written. his only duty would be to enforce them. nothing more. for him to be upset and throw a tantrum in the form of a press release is rather childish. am i wrong or is this guy out of his tree? either way, what a penis. god forbid science rule the day and we don't make more criminals out of people who aren't criminals. it is people like suthers that make me wish that there is a hell because i feel that is the only likely way they( the prohibitionist sonsabitches) will get what they deserve. if the law dawgs that murdered marvin booker walked what chance is there that suthers will ever get what should be coming to him? fuck you johnny.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Maybe Suthers needs to review his job description on colorado.gov (http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Sat...

The Constitution divides the power of government into three parts or branches:

Legislative Branch - Makes the laws

Executive Branch - Enforces the laws

Judicial Branch - Interprets the laws

They've spelled it out in simple English. Maybe he doesn't realize he's part of the Executive Branch...

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

I noticed a little typo in Suthers letter. He said " pressure from the marijuana industry." What I think he meant to say was "pressure from Colorado citizens acting to protect our constitutionally held rights." But fearmongering is easier and I would not expect Suthers to actually understand the constitution, that would be too hard for this feeble minded leach on the Colorado taxpayer.

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