Driving-while-stoned videos help fuel momentum of THC driving bill
One case I tried to a jury in the past illustrates the point. In People v. Solimeo, Gunnison County Court Case No. 10T288, the driver had ten nanograms of THC in his blood. There was no accident or victim whatsoever in the case. Mr. Solimeo's performance on voluntary roadside tests was not perfect, but easily attributed to high winds frequent in Gunnison (even the sober State Patrol Trooper could not perform the roadside tests perfectly in the courtroom when asked to do so).Likewise, Corry sees the "permissible inference" defense as "Guilty Until Proven Innocent" standard, since defendants would have to present evidence that they were actually sober despite blood test results, as opposed to the prosecution being required to establish their guilt.
Despite the ten nanograms, all evidence in the case showed that Mr. Solimeo was perfectly sober, driving well, and not a danger to anyone on the road that night. Mr. Solimeo was aware of the effects of THC on him and could easily compensate for them. Mr. Solimeo did not testify at trial because there was no real evidence against him, and any testimony from him would have been viewed as self-serving and defensive. Accordingly, the jury acquitted Mr. Solimeo of all charges, and even declined to find him guilty of the lesser included offense of Driving While Ability Impaired ("DWAI").
Whether any of that will matter at this point is debatable. The THC bill received support from Democrats as well as Republicans this time around -- something that hasn't been the case in the past. And while the road may be a bit tougher in the Senate, everyone from members of the Amendment 64 task force to representatives of the marijuana industry have either endorsed the policy or are making no obvious efforts to stop it.
Here's the aforementioned CBS4 item, followed by outtakes from the main KIRO report. Also on view: the text of the bill and the complete Rob Corry letter.
More from our Marijuana archive: "THC driving bill, take three: Read draft language of proposed 2013 legislation."