THC driving bill: Schedule I and II drug additions broaden rejected measure

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Big photos below.
Last April, as we've reported, a bill to set THC driving limits was put on hold by a senate committee -- and a DUID-marijuana working group charged with reconsidering the issue deadlocked over the question of per se standards. Nonetheless, Senator Steve King is sponsoring a new version of the bill, and it passed its first committee on Monday. But would it do more than impact marijuana users? Yes, says Senator Morgan Carroll -- a lot more.

In addition to setting an impairment limit of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, the version of the bill that's currently online also establishes a zero-tolerance standard for any and all Schedule I or Schedule II drugs, which include everything from illicit substances such as heroin (Schedule I) to prescription medication like Seconal (Schedule II). See the complete, eleven-page list of Schedule I-IV drugs below.

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Courtesy of Cannabis Therapy Institute
The audience at the THC driving bill hearing.
We've also included a copy of the bill below -- but here's a key section from its summary.

In any prosecution for a driving under the influence (DUI), driving while ability impaired (DWAI), vehicular assault, or vehicular homicide, if at the time of the commission of the alleged offense, or within two hours thereafter, the defendant's blood, urine, or saliva contains any amount of a schedule I controlled substance, except for tetrahydrocannabinols; a schedule II controlled substance; salvia divinorum; or synthetic cannabinoids, or the defendant's blood contains 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter in whole blood, such fact gives rise to the permissible inference that the defendant was under the influence of drugs.

The result, says Carroll, who helped lead the charge against the original measure, "is actually a broader bill than the one last year." And she speculates that the additions grew out of criticism leveled against the first version.

"One of the questions that came up last year was the idea that marijuana was being singled out -- that if you're concerned about impairment, shouldn't you be equally concerned about impairment from the variety of other prescription drugs that people take, and not just medical marijuana," Carroll notes. "And I had an advocate for this bill say to me, 'We listened to that and we agreed.'"

However, no standards for Schedule I or Schedule II drugs are included in the bill. Why not? "I don't think there are figures available," Carroll allows. "I just don't think science tells us at what point we have impairment on any of those substances. I don't know if the decision to go with zero tolerance had anything to do with that. Maybe it's just easier to enforce, because if you find anything, you've got a conviction."

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Morgan Carroll.
The problem with such an approach from Carroll's perspective is that "the law needs to make sure people are actually impaired. It's the same problem as with the five nanograms. Some of these folks may be impaired, and some of them may not be."

Carroll didn't have the opportunity to make these points at the Monday hearing, because rather than bringing the bill to the judiciary committee on which she sits, as happened last year, King funneled it through the veterans and military affairs committee, whose focus seemingly has nothing to do with the measure. The strategy makes sense to Carroll from King's perspective: "I think some of it was vote-counting, because obviously the bill ran into some opposition in judiciary," she suggests. But what rules allow such a tactic?

"The assignment of committees for the House is 100 percent up to the Speaker, and the assignment of committees for the Senate is 100 percent up to the Senate president," Carroll says. "So it's at the discretion of the president to decide what committee hears the bill, and they can consider what the sponsors request, if the constituents in their district are especially interested in the outcome -- any of those things. But it's certainly an unusual assignment."

Now that the bill has received the veterans and military affairs committee's blessing, it heads to appropriations -- and even though implementation is expected to be expensive (estimates range from more than a half-million dollars to $1.2 million), few observers think the measure will get stuck at this stage.

Carroll's take? "I'm told the best chance to stop it is on the Senate floor," she says. "Last year was a long shot. It was supposed to sail through last year, too -- and there's definitely been a doubling-down in an effort to get it through this time. But on the Senate floor, we can really have a debate about whether this bill ultimately passes or not."

Such a conversation will presumably also touch on the impact it may have on plenty of others, including people taking prescription medication who may now be found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs when they're not really impaired.

Look below to see more photos of this week's hearing, as well as a copy of the bill and the list of Schedule I-IV drugs.


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94 comments
Kava Anxiety
Kava Anxiety

Although there are quite a lot of drawbacks to this bill, what should be remembered is that there are also a lot of accidents that happened because of drug use.

Patient
Patient

Just because a drug is listed as a schedule 1 or 2 of controlled sunstance doesn't mean it impairs the ability to drive. On the flip side drugs like sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and herbal medicines like kava that are not controlled substances can cause significant impairment. Marijuana in moderation used medicinally impairs about as much as an antidepressant. Who's up for drug testing lexapro patients?

Bruno24
Bruno24

The more you prohibit a drug, the more you make it available to the kids. Prohibitionism is harmful fear criminal business only. 

Monkey
Monkey

Coca leaves are schedule II, I did not know that. Learn something everyday even if your disgusted at what you learn. Where are all the coca clones, I want one.

Michelle LaMay
Michelle LaMay

When I heard the committee's last debate at home on the internet, I knew I had been correct in my approach all along...All but Mr. Neville are shameful slime...they had been got to long ago! Now come to find out, there are $4.5 in grants available to jurisdictions for fancy-schmancy drug detection equipment...and who doesn't recognize the advantage/windfall a DUID bill would be for the committee members' favorite law enforcement lobbyist? Follow the $$...you grease my hand...I'll grease yours. As I posted yesterday: Atty Chris Sederberg suggested during his testimony at the DUID hearing yesterday that the fiscal note contained revenue enhancement, particularly disturbing to make money off of prosecuting people for "per se" amounts of cannabis in their blood. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/... Michelle LaMay, Proponent #1303-886-7998http://www.relief4possession.w...relief4possession@groups.facebook.com

Grateful MedsinNed
Grateful MedsinNed

Hooray for Morgan Carroll, at least there is one Senator in Colorado who looks at the science (or lack of) and comes to her position through common sense not sensationalism. 

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

I'm fairly certain that one of the names on the schedule list is  a code name for my Flintstone vitamins. Screwed again :(

CO MMJ IS DEAD
CO MMJ IS DEAD

the incompetence of CO lawmakers with their prohibitionist personal agendas and need to get their names in the paper is putrid at best. kudos to those that do show up to testify against this and other garbage and shame on the other 100,000+ patients and countless others intimate with the ganj who continue to do nothing. CO MMJ is dead. accept that. the inaction of many is what has brought this political garbage to our front door. CO MMJ IS DEAD. minus a few people it is everybody's fault. your welcome. now go fuck yourselves. i hope you drop and break your favorite glass piece. you are all pot clowns, minus a very, very few. thank Lord Shiva i am leaving this cesspool of a state. outside of scenery and outdoor activities, what does this cesspool have to offer? a bunch of out-of-staters from away with NO state pride. bunch of yuppie yogurt sprout eating self-centered shit stains. and this is the kind of shit you get when there is no pride. i feel as though i am leaving just in time.

Guesto
Guesto

that is on some Patriot Act levels of privacy invasion , Colorado could end up writing the law that leads to New World Order

Monkey
Monkey

My schedule II prescriptions tell me to use caution when driving, I guess some Colorado legislators think they know better and I should just stay home instead. I'm so glad pharmacology school is a pre-requisit for Colorado legislators, I had no idea they were so qualified to instruct people on their medical condition.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

One of the most disgusting aspects of the debates about HB11-1261 and SB12-117 is the eagerness of all the prosecutors involved to lie outright about the import of the per se limit -- in practical terms, it would make it impossible to conduct a defense after evidence that defendants had 5ng of THC/ml (or any amount of many legal medications) in their blood is established.  Most of the District Attorneys across our State and nation are more dangerous to our society and future than all the people they convict put together.  Our representatives should not be hanging on every word of people who have made an absolute mockery of any notion that the United States remains the "land of the free", but they do.  There are very few people within the two major parties who are making positive contributions to our society -- clean and dress up an equal number of inmates from our prisons, replace our present legislature with them, ignore their failure to perform its rituals, and they would do far less harm.  I was struck by Sen. Neville's reference to the Hippocratic Oath -- that is for doctors, but our representatives should be required to at least mouth it.

Ricky
Ricky

At what point does sleep deprivation impair one's driving ability?  How about the aggressive driver's jacked up on caffeine?  If they are going to work via insane fear, why not go all the way? What a joke!  Please do something useful like stopping bars a breweries from enabling drunks on the road.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

The DUI prohibitions cover any drug which impairs or influences one's ability to operate a motor vehicle.

42-4-1301. Driving under the influence - driving while impaired - driving with excessive alcoholic content 

(1) (a) It is a misdemeanor for any person who is under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, to drive a motor vehicle or vehicle. 

(b) It is a misdemeanor for any person who is impaired by alcohol or by one or more drugs, or by a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, to drive a motor vehicle or vehicle. 

(c) It is a misdemeanor for any person who is an habitual user of any controlled substance defined in section 12-22-303 (7), C.R.S., to drive a motor vehicle, vehicle, or low-power scooter in this state. 

(d) For the purposes of this subsection (1), one or more drugs shall mean all substances defined as a drug in section 12-22-303 (13), C.R.S., and all controlled substances defined in section 12-22-303 (7), C.R.S., and glue-sniffing, aerosol inhalation, and the inhalation of any other toxic vapor or vapors. 

(e) The fact that any person charged with a violation of this subsection (1) is or has been entitled to use one or more drugs under the laws of this state, including, but not limited to, the medical use of marijuana pursuant to section 18-18-406.3, C.R.S., shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this subsection 

===========

So as you can see, currently ANY level of marijuana would be illegal, and the "habitual user of" does not require one to be under the influence or impaired. The mere fact that one is a "habitual user of" makes it a crime to drive, even if sober.

Note that "vehicles" includes BICYCLES, BOATS and HORSES in Colorado.

Also note that the legislature saw fit to prohibit "low power scooters" for "habitual users or controlled substances" while not mentioning scooters for drunks and pharma drug users.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

And some idiots want to give unlimited REGULATORY powers and control to those same incompetent, prohibitionist politicians via Amendment 64 !!

... and the fools think it won't turn out equally as bad as HB1284.

Those who can't remember history are doomed to repeat it.[proof that pot causes short term memory loss]

COproud
COproud

don't let the door hit ya

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Idiots are BEGGING the GOVERNMENT to REGULATE their precious pot LIKE ALCOHOL !!

Ask and ye shall receive !

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Very succinctly put, Monkey. Thanks for weighing in.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"use caution" =/= absolution from criminal or civil liability when you screw up.

HTH

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

As you are eager to lie about A64 and its absurdly low, unworkable, contradictory plant count vs. weight limits.

Because you personally don't cultivate, you're so willing to throw 1000s of others under the bus to achieve some dysfunctional "baby step" toward your ultimate goal.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith

Read Dr. David Dement's book "The Promise of Sleep"... it's the #1 killer behind the wheel.  Sleepy driving is more dangerous than alcohol, and in a whole other league vis-a-vis mjh.  Moreover, you can't accurately judge your level of impairment from sleep deprivations, one min you are fine - feel fine, the next, you've nodded off at the wheel.  

Grateful MedsinNed
Grateful MedsinNed

speaking as a registered sleep technologist, it happens fast as one builds up a sleep deficit from not getting enough sleep per night or not getting quality sleep because of apnea, insomnia etc. And their are studies out there that show it is worse then driving while intoxicated on alcohol.

Monkey
Monkey

Very interesting Donkey, I can see you're doing your homework. "Pharma drug users" are  users of a controlled substance, everything listed is a controlled substance. Apparently just drunks can admit to habitual use. When they say "anything you say can be used against you", you better pay attention, and any prescription bottle or MMJ card might be considered "suspicion of habitual use". Haven't heard that one before but I wouldn't put it past them to start using it.

Rosskarr
Rosskarr

I agree. THose who don't grow, usually sell out to bs new laws "to supposedly"further the movement. If it smells like crap it is crap. Any limits to plant count is prohibition...As a former department of agriculture horticulturist , I have never heard of a plant limit on ANY plant.. Cannabis should not have any Limits on plant numbers.. Plain and simple. Don't settle for less!!!!! Stand up and stop being afraid of the most harmless plant!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Hotay, you realize that you are in an uphil battle here?  Robert Chase is Westword 'commentor of the year!' 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

So you edit your mistake away and fail to acknowledge it too -- bad form!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You are confused -- Initiative 30 has qualified for the ballot; it is now described as Amendment 64.  Instead of committing libel, cite facts, and try to construct a coherent argument using them.  I do not lie.

News Wire
News Wire

So how do objectively test for DW sleep deprived?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

So explain the science of pragmatically growing only 6 (six) plants, no more than 3 (three) of which are producing bud, and cover all phases of functional production within those limits, from clones or seeds, to veg, to flower, and back again.

Show your work.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Yeah ... who needs science when you got politics, eh Robert?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You never were amenable to any discussion involving political reality, and that is the issue at hand, not horticultural science (at which you excel).

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

-- last year.  Donkey wants his own novelty sunglasses in 2012.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

This town ain't big enough for two Pied Pipers ...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You do seem to be doing a better job of orchestrating the idiots -- your strategy all along.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Robert Chase = Pettifogger of the Year !

When you're ready to stop niggling about semantic distinctions without a difference, feel free to rejoin the substantive discussion.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You must go over that transcript like fundamentalists do their holy writ. We were both there -- once was enough for me.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

And given the power and mandate to act, they -- the prevaricating prohibitionist politicians -- would never act in a harmful, disingenuous or self-serving manner ... right Robert?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

"Methinks the lady doth protest too much."

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Note: 3/10 percent = 0.30 %

Same BS "trace amounts" ruse that the DEA used to seize tons of non-viable Hemp seeds being shipped from Canada for use in hemp food and oil products.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

 They can BAN industrial HEMP--NO GUIDANCE to the general assembly but a MANDATE to ACT?

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

ANOTHER PROBLEM: 

Industrial hemp is defined as: "Means the plant of genus cannabis and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed three tenths percent on a dry weight basis"

three tenths percent MEANS 30% people! 

So industrial hemp is ALL (parts of the plant) cannabis that is LESS THAN 30% THC DRY WEIGHT? 

Think about it---(Robert especially)... 

THE BEST MEDICAL cannabis (THC%'s) is measured by ACTIVE compounds in the BUDS--not he ENTIRE plant. 

This HUGE FLAW would mean that ALL MMJ can be argued in the court of law as industrial hemp.

Why is that a problem?  Well A64 also FORCES the General Assembly ("shall intact") to pass legislation on the regulation of industrial hemp.  And as the transcripts from the I30 title board hearings show:

June 15, 2011 tilte board hearing:minute 11:30 secondsMr. Hobbs, per industrial hemp, "They have to act but it DOESN'T GIVE THEM ANY GUIDANCE on what to do so I suppose the General Assembly can enact a law that says there will be no regulation of cultivation, processing or sale of industrial hemp.  Is that accurate?" Mr. Fox, "If that interpretation is there, than yeah, that would be an option for them.  Yeah.  We would hope the interpretation of this would be a directive that they should affirmatively regulate it .  But if they chose to do otherwise, WE WILL BE STUCK WITH IT."

Anybody feel screwed now? 

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Not at all -- I would much rather be a polemicist than a lying propagandist.

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

One  PROBLEM:

A 64 defines marijuana as: "All parts of the genus cannabis whether growing or not" including seeds.  Then it says excluding industrial hemp. 

hmmm...ALL parts of the genus cannabis plant excluding industrial hemp?  WTF?  Industrial hemp IS the genus cannabis plant.

Then industrial hemp is defined as "Means the plant of genus cannabis and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed three tenths percent on a dry weight basis"

So both are defined as the genus cannabis plant, and somehow hemp is not marijuana? 

Not to mention marijuana is a racist/slang word to begin with. 

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

"Pettifoggery" and "dispositive" in the same sentence: That's tough to do. Thanks for the post, Donkey Hotay.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Your pettifoggery is not dispositive of your abject lies regarding A64.

Stop shilling for law enforcement.

A64 is an unworkable, contradictory, impossible trick-bag, exactly like HB1284 that you so despise, and it gives unlimited REGULATORY authority and taxation powers to the same prohibitionists politicians you condemn for contriving HB1284.

Have you gone completely MAD ??

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