THC driving bill, take three: Read draft language of proposed 2013 legislation
For the third year in a row, state lawmakers will be pushing for an official marijuana DUI limit, to curb what they say is an epidemic of stoned drivers that will only get worse with the passage of Amendment 64. Senator Steve King, a Western Slope Republican, is again sponsoring the legislation, which is currently in the interim Transportation Legislation Review committee. In many ways, the current proposal is the same as bills that have been introduced -- and voted down -- twice before.
Senator Steve King.
The intoxication standard would be set at 5 nanograms or more of THC for every milliliter of blood, and involuntary blood draws would be allowed. Anyone found over that limit while driving or within two hours of driving would face a misdemeanor charge.
What is different this time is that the measure addresses the entire state DUI code instead of merely amending it with a marijuana portion. Among the major changes in the currently available 22-page draft is making blood alcohol and blood THC levels a "permissible inference" defense.
Basically, that means a judge and/or jury is permitted to conclude that a person was driving under the influence based solely on blood or breathalyzer results -- but it also means a judge/jury is allowed to not make that assumption. For example, if the blood results showed someone was at 6 nanograms of THC but other evidence indicated he was not impaired, the jury could find in favor of the defendant.
The proposal also removes language that would prohibit any driver considered a "habitual user of any controlled substance" from driving any time -- language that could have been interpreted to make anybody who uses now state-legal marijuana at any point in time an illegal driver, regardless of his or her blood-THC limits.
Continue for more on the latest THC driving bill proposal.