THC-limit bill could ban many seniors and veterans from driving, activist says
On Monday, a Senate committee passed a THC-driving limits bill that's broader than one that fell short last year. As Senator Morgan Carroll noted here yesterday, the proposal establishes zero tolerance for any Schedule I or Schedule II drugs, including many prescription medications. Cannabis activist Rico Colibri thinks the result could ban many seniors and veterans from driving.
Colibri co-founded the Association of Cannabis Trades, an organization that had significant input on HB-1284, the measure regulating medical marijuana retail operations in Colorado, and currently runs a nonprofit dubbed the Cannabis Alliance for Regulation and Education (CARE). He attended Monday's marathon hearing and was the last to testify, telling committee members that "the zero tolerance policy for Schedule II medicines will negatively effect anyone who takes them for pain management, including senior citizens and military veterans."
The proposal, sponsored by Senator Steve King, would set an impairment limit of five nanograms per milliliter of blood for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. However, there are no figures associated with Schedule I or Schedule II drugs. The reason, speculates Carroll, who opposes the measure, is that there's no reliable scientific information about safe driving levels for these other meds, so the bill's authors simply established that any trace of such substances would establish impairment. That's a highly dubious assumption in Colibri's view, and one that could have enormous repercussions for far more than medical marijuana patients.
"Senator King only talked about medical marijuana patients," Colibri says. "He's trying to cloak it with this other stuff. But something like 60 percent of the population in Colorado takes prescription-based medication, and many of them take Schedule II drugs. I have senior citizens in my family who have to take Oxycontin daily to get through their lives, and there are many, many veterans who have to do so because of injuries they sustained while keeping our country safe. And most people aren't aware that Senator King is trying to criminalize these veterans and other people with pain-management issues."
Page down to continue reading our interview with Rico Colibri about the THC driving bill.