Medical Marijuana Industry Group comes out against per se THC driving limits

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Earlier this week, the DUID-marijuana working group formed under the auspices of the state Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) decided not to recommend specific THC driving limits, as a bill tabled during the last legislative session attempted to do. Below, the Medical Marijuana Industry Group's Michael Elliott, a member of the working group, explains his opposition.

Last March, during an interview with Westword, Elliott didn't take an official position on HB 1261, sponsored by Representative Claire Levy, which would have set a THC impairment standard of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. "We support the concept of the bill," he said. "We want to do everything we can to make sure our patients are safe drivers, and we share that concern with the sponsors of the bill." However, he added, "we want to make sure that any state DUI standard should be measurable and based on sound science." In his view, there was "a lack of research on this issue, and what we're most concerned about is edibles and the appropriate time frames for safe consumption when it comes to impairment."

In the end, the measure was designated for more study shortly after test results showed that Westword medical marijuana reviewer William Breathes was nearly triple the proposed limit when sober. The eight-member DUID-marijuana working group, co-chaired by attorney Sean McAllister and Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, is part of that process. Its recommendation not to create a per se THC driving limit, at 5 nanograms or any other level, will be considered at 1:30 p.m. next Wednesday by the CCJJ's Drug Policy Task Force.

Elliott was one of four working group members to argue against a per se limit. In a statement provided to Westword, he describes his logic.

As a member of the DUI Workgroup, MMIG has fought to protect patient rights, promote public safety, and ensure that any recommended change to Colorado's DUI laws be based in science. After a comprehensive review of the literature, half of the DUI Workgroup members, including myself and Sean McAllister, agreed that the science does not support a 5 nanogram per se limit. Rather, a 5 nanogram per se limit would criminalize the unimpaired, while offering defendants little opportunity to demonstrate their innocence. It is MMIG's position that the current law, which has resulted in a 90 percent conviction rate over the past 4 years, is superior to a per se law. By being responsible business owners and patients, we reduce the need for the government to legislate this type of misinformed measure. We encourage business owners and patients to help spread this message - Don't use medical marijuana and drive.

Apropos of the last line, MMIG is working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to promote its new campaign against Drugged Driving .

More from our Marijuana archive: "THC driving bill on hold: William Breathes blood test results a factor, advocate says."


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14 comments
Smith
Smith

Numerous years ago N.Y. state troopers did a examination andfound that a person driving below the power of cannabis had no fewer driving capabilityhigh then when moderate!

Society in reality wants to go the conflicting way and defendpeople who get in car accident while possessing marijuana. 

Scott Greene
Scott Greene

Shame on Mike Elliot and MMIG. They may be against the per se limit but they are in favor the "Heat is on" campaign. A campaign focused on solely arresting cannabis consumers that get behind the wheel.

Reality
Reality

Listen, as an MMJ patient I agree that that a per se limit on DUID is unsound and unreasonable.  However, to state that MMIG should not be working with CDOT is illustrative of the general lack of knowledge as to how we as patients and an industry need to move forward in protecting and asserting our rights.

To take the "wacktavist" line and bullhorn oue way into meetings and the media adds little legitimacy to our cause and only besmirches our reputations.

The fact of the matter is this: way, way more progress comes from working WITH our regulatory bureaucracies as opposed to against them.  Right now, there is no per se limit for drugged driving via cannabis.  To put forward the notion that CDOT's position on the matter is somehow divergent from that of the responsible MMJ community exposes the author's untenable take on smoking up behind the wheel.  If anyone on our side thinks that John Q. Public, no matter what the science says, will ever support an individual's right to toke and cruise than our collective intellect is far, far inferior to what I had assumed.

MMIG works with CDOT to show that we truly are about the medicine------->CDOT has good things to say about the industry and they way in which we conduct ourselves-------->The media cools its heels on nanograms------->the legislature forgets about per se.  This is how it's done in the real world, folks.

Cordibudd
Cordibudd

several years ago N.Y. state troopers did a test and found that a person driving under the influence of marijuana had no less driving ability high then when sober!

Guest Who
Guest Who

Whats fucked up is if I had ran over that stupid bitch with my jar of weed in the car I would be a victim of that 90% rate.

Society actually needs to go the opposite direction and protect people who get in car accident while possessing marijuana.

It doesn't matter if some asshole is sending text messages to a 16 year old while he plows into your driver side door at 50 MPH , if you have weed on you its still not going to be a cut and dry case. 

Idiots. 

Guest Who
Guest Who

Some drunk bitch made a 90 degree turn into my lane last night on 17th street at 230 in the morning.

I had probably smoked at least 7 or 8 blunts during the 4 hours prior.

I honestly dont think many drivers would have been able to slam on their breaks as I did, I actually suprised myself with how focused and attentive I was to be able to avoid running this stupid drunk tramp over (she had a lower back tatoo.)

So if you try to tell me there should be a DUID for Marijuana go suck a bag of HIV cunt and Die.

Guy Petersen Jr
Guy Petersen Jr

I think field tests alongside the highway in which a person has to give blood is a bit harsh. Besides, the possibility for false positives is very high in all the field tests that are available. The science in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is is under the influence can be invalidated if someone challenges it in court.  Check out this you tube  video link where they prove how easy it is to get a false positive with products like chocolate, and even tylenol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... 

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

Nice to see them actually doing something positive for the patients.  That is a first.  Remember though, because of their lobbying efforts, we have HB1284 and 1043.  Caregivers have gone underground because of them.  MMIG has still done more harm than good.  They knew the patients would destroy them if the backed this bullshit. 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

MMIG should not be collaborating with the CDOT on its propaganda campaign, but Elliott spoke ably against per se limits at the seventh (and only legal) meeting of the Marijuana Per Se Working Group.

GetReal
GetReal

I don't support anyone driving impaired, but more importantly, it's plain wrong to persecute the innocent out of fear.  Many thanks to those who discovered the secret meetings and worked to hopefully stop that from happening.  I mean just because I'll be blazing away tonight as is my right as a registered patient, doesn't mean I'll be on the road impaired tomorrow.  Thanks again, Mr. Breathes for giving a great example!

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

Standing for a NG/ML limit would be suicide for MMIG so when the public was there of course they were against it.  But supporting a campaign that presumes medicating and driving is dangerous when the science is still out on if it actually is disingenuous and hurts patients by stoking the reefer madness that has afflicted us for far to long.   Westword, good job on giving this story the Friday media dump.   

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

-- don't dangle your noun phrases out in the open like that.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You nitwit!  You have the temerity to spout this bullshit aftter NORML and MMIG adopted a neutral position on HB11-1261 -- no bullhorns were in evidence at the hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The Marijuana Per Se Working Group offered to let the four of us who showed up speak and we did so -- no bullhorns there either; your moniker is rather misleading, since you do not seem to be in touch with reality.  No one has even suggested that the public would approve of driving stoned, and this is the same crap NORML was dishing out to justify their failure to take a stand against per se limits during the last legislative session.  People do have short memories, but you are trying to re-write history very soon after the events -- we radicals (with some assistance from Senator Carroll) defeated the per se limit, and now your organization and NORML support our position.  Good luck with your campaign to convince the CDOT that MMIG is sincere; any patient who trusts your organization is a clueless consumer -- something like a hamburger-eater singing the praises of the American Meat Council.

Realize this.
Realize this.

hahaha Reality ... and then you woke up .. with handcuffs on ... cuz you thought the police would listen to reason... Better go back to your fantasy land ... reality is knocking

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