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THC driving bill's real cost may be as high as $3 million, ex-judge says

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A Senate committee has passed a THC driving bill considerably broader than one put on hold last year. Since then, there's been debate about how expensive the measure would be, with one report estimating the cost for the state's public defender's office at almost $600,000. But an attorney, former judge and marijuana advocate thinks the total price tag could be as much as five times higher.

"I'd be willing to say $3 million a year at absolute minimum," says Leonard Frieling. "And we often discover that the most crude of estimates is far more accurate than you would ever expect."

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Leonard Frieling.
We first profiled Frieling last August. He's a member of LEAP: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, as well as a former municipal court judge for the City of Lafayette who quit his job in 2007 over marijuana policy.

These days, Frieling works as a lawyer and often represents clients charged with driving under the influence of drugs, a topic he discussed at length in a December post previewing a seminar on the subject. As such, he read with interest the Denver Post article linked above, which noted the state public defender's office estimate of almost $600,000 extra per year to defend drugged-driving cases under new rules that would establish a THC-impairment standard of five nanograms per milliliter of blood.

The science behind this number has been heavily questioned due to the way THC lingers in the system of users. Note that Westword medical marijuana critic William Breathes tested at nearly triple the proposed limit while sober last year. Moreover, the latest measure also imposes a zero-tolerance standard on all Schedule I and Schedule II drugs, including many prescription medications. Frieling believes all of these elements contribute to the overall cost of the bill.

"We need to include more than what it costs for public defenders," he says. "Think about it in terms of D.A. time: We pay for that. Court time: We pay for that. Trial time: We pay for that. And then there are the dollar demands on sick people who are appropriately prescribed medications and who are not impaired, or who are less impaired."

Page down to continue reading our interview with Leonard Frieling.



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13 comments
Joseph, 303 Organics
Joseph, 303 Organics

3 million? So what. What about the countless lives this will have negative consequences on? Is there a dollar amount we can put on the lives, liberties and freedoms that will be damaged from this? I do not think so. Do you?

http://303organics.com/

Light Rail Tattler
Light Rail Tattler

I have an explanation for the lack of understanding what is an impaired THC level and why THC can be detected for 45 days after not smoking weed.

When weed is smoked, it is inhaled and along with the smoke there is oil and tar.THC bonds in weed oil and tar.Weed oil and tar with THC bonds in the bronchial tubes and slowly enters the blood stream.After about 45 days the THC can no longer be detected in drug tests because the bronchial tubes are cleared of residual weed oil and tar.The oil and tar formula for detection of nicotine and cocaine in body fluids holds true for people that smoke cigarettes, heroin and cocaine as well.

People that exclusively consume weed tea or brownies will only show positive results for 72 hours if they don't smoke weed.

Guesto
Guesto

END THE FED.

3 Million dollars isn't shit when your boss does his banking at The Fed and counterfeits money to his hearts desire. 

Ron Paul 2012 

GetReal
GetReal

Meanwhile, bars and breweries continue to enable impaired drivers on our roads.  There are people right now on their way outta the bar and heading for the car...and it's not even Friday night yet!  Wait until happy hour kicks in.  Mr. King, there's something for you to work on.

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

"Frieling has a dog in this fight: The bill would make it much more difficult for attorneys like him to question whether their clients were actually impaired."

This is the same guy who supports I64.  So how will the below section of I64 help keep innocent people out of jail? Because it looks like they are enshrining a cannabis DUI in our constitution.  Anyone, Judge, care to explain why we have a cannabis DUI in our constitution?

Section 16. Personal use and regulation of marijuana

(1) Purpose and findings.(III) DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA SHALL REMAIN ILLEGAL

OK proper question asked about a constitutional amendment.  Let's have the responses about how I'm guilty until proven innocent and this poor constitutional language which puts more restrictions then grants liberties in our constitution is good for us....GO!

Guest
Guest

There is no need to spam your commercial web site with every post you make.

Killroy
Killroy

 Corey Donahue - Are you posting these messages from jail/prison? Did you ever get sentenced on the felony charge from last year? What about the sexual assault charge? Did you ever get that cleared up? Do you now have to permanently register as a sex offender?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

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

It's a pro-Law enFORCEment scam !!

Ricky
Ricky

 No, you have it wrong.  These days it's "punished until proven innocent".  The punishment starts when one is arrested and ends with an acquittal from a jury which tends to happen a year or so later.  It comes complete with regular substance abuse testing which the accused even gets to pay for!  If that's not acceptable, then the other choice is to not bond out of jail. 

Pedro
Pedro

Your wisdom is blooming HCC and it is a beautiful sight. I am inspired and humbled by your thoughtful words. Thank you.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Hotay, have you found an answer to this question yet?  It's a challenging one.  I'm not sure it's possible to 'hate' an idea such as 'Amerikkka'.  Seems easier just to change your beliefs or chat about your beliefs to gain guidance and understanding as the Westword forums offer.  Hate is a heavy thought to carry around, High County Caregiver recommend lightening your load with kindness and love for that which you believe in and leaving that which bothers you or you can't understand behind.  Let go!  Free your mind and your heart will follow.  Much love, Jah Bless Donkey_Hotay and his time for sharing his thoughts and ideas.

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