Medical Marijuana Industry Group promotes new THC driving bill

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Today, the Colorado General Assembly will meet in a special session called by Governor John Hickenlooper. The guv wants lawmakers to address issues left in limbo at the end of the regular term, including civil unions and a controversial THC driving bill that members of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group would like to supplant with an entirely new piece of legislation.

As we've reported, the so-called DUID bill, shorthanded as SB 117, would establish a per se THC impairment limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood, with "per se" setting the sort of bright line that translates to instant guilt in the eyes of the law. Opponents raise questions about the usefulness of the standard, in part because THC tends to linger in the system of users. For example, medical marijuana reviewer William Breathes registered at nearly triple that level when sober during a test last year.

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Steve King.
Such evidence led to the original bill being shelved in lieu of further analysis -- but the concept was revived by Senator Steve King. And while the arguments for and against the measure didn't change much from one year to the next, the results did. Senator Nancy Spence, who'd supported further study in 2011, became a King ally, resulting in the bill passing the Senate by an 18-17 vote -- and the Republican majority in the House made its approval by that chamber a seeming lock. However, the measure didn't receive a second reading on the penultimate day of the term, seemingly sending it to legislative oblivion.

But no: Although Hickenlooper called the special session mainly due to the uproar over the civil unions bill's demise, he included the THC driving proposal among seven items he encouraged legislators to address -- and if they do, it'll almost certainly pass this time. That doesn't mean Hick will definitely sign the bill, but plenty of observers believe he will.

Enter the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, working in concert with organizations such as the Cannabis Business Association and the United Food and Commercial Workers. In a press release sent out yesterday evening under the auspices of MMIG executive director Michael Elliott, the organization announces members' support of an entirely new bill -- one that would establish "appropriate per se levels for all drugs, not just marijuana." Regarding the latter, the THC impairment limit would be set at 15 nanograms -- three times higher than the number in King's bill, and a bit above the 13.5 nanograms Breathes registered in his aforementioned test.

Page down to continue reading about the new MMIG proposal.



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