Photos: THC driving limits bill approved by Senate committee

steve king at hearing.jpg
Big photos below.
In a marathon hearing that stretched from the early afternoon until the late evening, a bill to establish THC driving standards was approved by a Senate committee yesterday in a 4-1 vote.

The measure, sponsored by Senator Steve King, right, would set five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood as an impairment standard -- the equivalent of .08 blood alcohol content for alcohol.

A driving-standards bill died in Senate last year after legislators raised questions about the scientific data, or lack thereof, to show that the five nanogram blood test was an effective measure of impairment. Opponents of the proposal argued that, unlike alcohol, THC can linger in the blood for days after using and levels can build up in a regular user.

miguel lopez testifies.jpg
Courtesy of Cannabis Therapy Institute
Marijuana activist Miguel Lopez testifies while folks in the background check their phones.
Yesterday, the resurrected debate looked similar: Bill supporters were typically law enforcement officials referencing still hazy technical evidence, while opponents included pot activists asking the committee to wait until sufficient data is released. But both sides agreed that driving while high should still be illegal.

Marijuana activist Corey Donahue, who was credited with helping to derail last year's bill, testified again last night, declaring the measure unconstitutional. "Why are the only people supporting a bill that would essentially imprison and arrest innocent people, the same people enforcing our laws?" he asked. "And I'm just questioning this because this whole thing seems as if the state and the law enforcement officials of the state are trying to criminalize people's conduct with no science to back it up."

Plasma results from Westword medical marijuana critic William Breathes-- whose blood had tested three times the legal amount while sober -- was also brought up.

In the end, the majority of the committee elected to move the legislation forward.

"The privilege of smoking marijuana should stop at the vehicle door, but we want to wait," King said. "This legislation advocates for the families of the severely injured and the dead. It advocates for the preservation of future victims lives. It asks you to look and not wait."

"I am not inclined to wait any longer," concurred Senator Betty Boyd, who co-sponsored the bill last year. "There was scientific evidence last year; there seems to be more this year."

Senator Bob Bacon, who was undecided going into the hearing, was persuaded to approve the bill due to the "safeguard of probable cause." The measure would only authorize law enforcement to request a blood test after having probable cause to do so.

"I want to really believe law enforcement agents that they have to go through a several-step process in order to determine probable cause," Bacon says. "I think there are people out there who say it's just done willy-nilly, and I don't believe that's true. And so the whole idea of a whole prosecution of even a trial by jury will bring that out."

Senator Tim Neville was the only committee member to oppose the bill. "I was a little shocked by the lack of medical data from the supporters, and that has helped me make up my mind," he said. "I do not want to put people in a situation where they are facing imprisonment or extra fines or whatever else it must be because we don't have all the information this time."

Following a voice vote, dissatisfied opponents of the bill chanted, "Shame! Shame!" as they filed out of the courtroom.

The bill is expected to head next to the Senate appropriation committee before it is forwarded to a full chamber.

Look below and page down to see more photos of bill opponents, including members of the International Food and Commercial Workers union. Also on view: The most recent version of the measure, designated as Senate Bill 12-117.

agua das of cure testifies.jpg
Courtesy of Cannabis Therapy Institute
Agua Das of CURE (Cannabis Use Respects Everyone).
Click to see more photos and a copy of the bill.

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Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Lance, "DPD" refers to the Denver Police Department.  The officers of the DPD are law enforcement officers, but not all law enforcement officers are members of the DPD.  You might benefit from a course in elementary logic.

Transient
Transient

Nope. Kathleen is right.  A defense attorney would tell you it's better to suffer through the consequences of refusing a roadside and possibly losing your license for a year than it is to get a DUI on your record and pay the thousands of dollars in fines, lawyer fees and DUI classes.  For a well-spoken, Mercedes-driving, Rammstein-listening guy, Lance, you certainly do act like a retard sometimes.  

Guest
Guest

Lance, do you find it hard to type with that fat law enforcement cock in your mouth?

Transient
Transient

It's hard for him to type because he can't sit down (cock in butt).

Kathleen Chippi
Kathleen Chippi

Yes, they will ruin your day for refusing to take tests--but-- it might NOT ruin your life.  Refusing gives your attorney something to work with in the court of law--by providing your defense w/o you incriminating yourself.  If you take a road side sobriety or blood or urine test IT CAN and WILL be used against you in the court of law--and your attorney has a very had time proving your innocence. 

Monkey
Monkey

Never submit to any tests. If this thing goes through many of us will loose our drivers license. If I know my blood will convict me, I'm not giving it to them. I will loose my license for a year but it will be hard to prove I was impaired. If I give them my blood, I will certainly be convicted for driving while impaired AND loose my license for a year. Why can't we create physical road side tests for THC impairment, prove I'm impaired, not what my blood has in it. I'm sure they would be able to find volunteers for a case study on THC impairment. A medical marijuana State seems like a good place to conduct some tests.  

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

LOL!

You clueless clowns BEGGED the GOVERNMENT to "REGULATE Marijuana LIKE Alcohol" ...

... and now you fools got what you asked for!

Mission Accomplished !!

Ricky
Ricky

One thing I have noticed over the years is the move form "innocent until proven guilty" to "guilty until proven innocent".  Now it's fast becoming "punished until proven innocent".  If you don't agree, try getting arrested and then bond out of jail.  

Being out on bond, while being charged with this, will undoubtedly come with required substance abuse testing, etc.  That will go on for months while the accused waits for their day in court. Punishment starts when one is arrested and ends when the jury finds you innocent.  The "per se" portion of this bill will make that impossible.So, in other words, if I follow my doctor's recommendation but medicate tonight and ONLY tonight, tomorrow or a few days later, the punishment could start with total disregard for the fact that I am not impaired at the time.  But at least the children will be safe from me being out on the road not impaired.  Yeah, that sentence makes as much sense as this bill.

So, what problem is Mr. King trying to solve?  I watch the news all the time and yet, all I see are problems on the road caused by road rage and drunks.  Maybe he should fix that problem first.  It seems to be what needs fixing.

I don't drive impaired and will never support anyone who does, yet I could be punished anyway. I don't know about this being the land of the free so much anymore, but it's fast becoming the home of the brave.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Yes.  Bacon and especially Heath's bland dismissal of the prevailing state of injustice was disgusting.  Rollie Heath is the darling of CPR and the educational establishment for having supported (crushingly defeated) Proposition 103 last year, but he is an insensate pig no more attuned to the real problems in secondary education in Colorado than he is to the disaster in our criminal injustice system.

Ka Dargo
Ka Dargo

Yeah, and Senator Bob Bacon seems to think that any issues with this bill can simply be sorted out at trial.  Really?

Jeff
Jeff

truly a bunch of ignorant political tools. 

No On 64
No On 64

You thought this was bad. Wait until the SAFER Am. 64 puts this shit in the Constitution!

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

**** Vote NO on A64 !! ****

BAD LAW = BAD RESULTS !!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Vote to legalize cultivation of up to six cannabis plants -- vote for Amendment 64!

Stan
Stan

Go sit in the corner in time-out.  You can get up when you learn to comment on things you know something about.

joe mama
joe mama

would someone just punch steve king in the dick already? jeeeesus key-rist, is this guy a penis or what?

source of revenue
source of revenue

If  I treated my livestock as cruel as the rulers treat us, it would be considered a felony.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Meat is Murder !

HTH.

source of revenue
source of revenue

 then technically harvesting and smoking our plants is murder too, cutting down a tree, tilling the garden I murdered about 4000 worms last spring. life must be taken for others to live.

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.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

"Bravo DPD"?!?  You really are a nitwit; the DPD is not mentioned in the post and did not send a representative to testify at the hearing!

LarryQ5
LarryQ5

So what are you in here for? Uuh, I have glaucoma and tried to preserve my eyesight. I can drive and go blind or get a bicycle ane see the world.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I enjoy hearing Dr. Shackelford speak -- would that more opponents of Prohibition had his command of the language!

I hope that all speakers will reflect on the use that King was able to put their suggestion that we should "wait for more science" -- I know that that seemed like the most reasonable position to those speakers, but consider that proponents were completely consistent in insisting that science supports their position. I consider that they are disgusting, self-serving liars and/or too ignorant of science to be able to render any meaningful opinion about it, but more importantly, the science is clear that there is no justification for King's bill. Offering the prohibitionists on the Committee the olive branch that there might be some reason to act pending the outcome of research yet to be accomplished was an enormous rhetorical error which King was able to exploit in his grandstanding final speech.

Theonegordo
Theonegordo

So basically anybody that smokes marijuania on a daily basis will be over the limit to drive a vehicle at all time whether or not they have actually high or under the influnce of pot.  I remember taking a drug test for probation in my youth and had stopped smoking for a week and had 400 nanograms of THC in my bloodstream which would be 100 times over the limit.  This is a ridicilous law, I understand that you shouldn't drive while high but this is excessive if you have a pot leaf sticker on your car i recommend you take it off as it will now be probably cause to assume that you are driving while high and will probably exceed the legal limit even if you hadn't smoked that day.

Stan
Stan

Agreed.  Also, no roaches, pipes with resin (which is any pipe used at least once), baggies, pokers, hip-hop, jam band music, or free thought.  All usable meds and paraphernalia need to be in air-tight containers, stored out of reach during transportation.

Stan
Stan

Yeah, who needs science and clinical evidence when we have conjecture and misrepresentations of facts to guide our omnipotent elected officials' decisions?  Idiots!

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