Top

blog

Stories

 

Marijuana: THC driving bill breezes through first House vote despite e-mail protests, petition

smoking driving 205x205.jpg
In a Monday interview with Representative Rhonda Fields, co-sponsor of the latest THC driving bill, we noted that the measure, which is similar to ones that failed the past two years, seemed on a steady march to passage this time around -- and that continues to be the case.

The measure passed its first House vote yesterday, albeit with a couple of added amendments, despite an e-mail campaign and a petition drive against it. Details and a look at criticisms of the bill below.

Driving while stoned is illegal at this very moment under Colorado law. But unlike in the case of alcohol, there's currently no number at which a marijuana-using driver is officially considered impaired -- and cannabis activists see that as a good thing, since the science on the subject is infinitely less certain than it is in the case of booze. Nonetheless, the medical marijuana industry boom caused assorted legislators to believe one was needed anyhow.

As we've reported, the legislation from 2011 and 2012 would have established THC intoxication at five nanograms per milliliter of blood and made this standard per se -- meaning that a test registering five nanograms or more would be seen as irrefutable proof of intoxication. In response, critics argued that because THC tends to linger in users for longer periods of time, it's next to impossible to determine actual impairment via a blood test, at least under presently available technology.

rhonda fields 205x205.jpg
Rhonda Fields.
This year, the five nanogram limit is still part of the legislation, known as HB 1114, but the per se language is gone, replaced by "permissible inference," which would allow people who register at five nanograms or above to present other evidence to prove that they weren't actually impaired, rather than being considered guilty as a result of the test reading.

Marijuana attorney Rob Corry sees this change as only a slight improvement over the previous legislation, making the new proposal 95 percent bad as opposed to 100 percent.

Fields, however, considers the standard to be necessary given what's thought to be increased marijuana use in the area, due to previously existing medical marijuana laws and the signing of Amendment 64, which allows adults 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of cannabis recreationally in Colorado. Moreover, she doesn't believe innocent people will be convicted as a result of the limit.

"The bill looks for active THC in the system, not inactive THC," she told us. "If someone is a chronic user, like medical marijuana patients who use it as part of their treatment, we won't be looking at something that's residue. We'll only be looking at the active THC level."

These arguments, as well as the permissible inference addition, clearly struck a chord at the statehouse yesterday. As reported by the Denver Post, not a single legislator spoke out against the measure, which passed on an unrecorded voice vote after accruing amendments preventing "a person's status as a medical-marijuana patient from being used as evidence of impairment or probable cause for a blood test."

The bill must pass another vote, this one recorded, in order to move to the Senate, where previous versions have stumbled. But this time around, no legislators have stepped up to voice opposition, leaving that effort to marijuana activists.

Continue to see the objections to the THC driving bill.



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
59 comments
Jen Symank
Jen Symank

It was the prospect of tax revenue (ie money for the people, schools etc..) that has taken the movement so far. It was not the prospect of the court system and jails, which are often run by private, for profit companies to be able to have a new way to profit from pot users. Watch the documentary "The House I Live In"; don't be fooled the war on drugs is about business not safety!

jhaul21
jhaul21

fine with thc limit, but get it right, 5 nanograms is incorrect, that is a base level for a marijuana user, most users hover anywhere from 1 nanogram to 20 while sober, they figured 5 nanograms because supposedly a couple hours after ingestion your levels fall down to 5 nanograms however people test above 5 all the time when not having smoked, with this legislation you couldnt have smoked within the last day and drive, but you can have a few beers and drive, it would be like setting the new alcohol level at .01, only even worse. THC levels go up above 100 nanograms when smoked but rapidly decrease, from researching this a little bit id say somewhere above 50 and below 100 would be more appropriate; this is because as you ingest marijuana smoke the THC levels build, say you smoke a joint your levels rise to 150 but than drop down to 20 after awhile but you smoke again and your levels go up to 250 but drop back down only this time at like 40 etc... tests need to be conducted to see what level is dangerously impairing which they have no clue of or even if it is dangerous to drive high, the insurance companies dont seem to think so, they offer discount rates for medical marijuana customers, also marijuana effects everyone differently someone who has smoked a bunch might drive better than someone who has only had a puff, there is a lot to figure out before anything is passed and using this nonsense 5 nanogram level is absurd.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Lyin' Brian Vicente and Christian "128 eighths in an ounce" Sederberg stand to reap MILLIONS of $$$ from defending all the new DUI-marijuana criminals they CREATED via A64!

WIN - WIN !!

Get REGULATED, suckers !!


mich.cannabisunivers
mich.cannabisunivers

Colorado HB13-1114, the DUID PER SE bill: The fiscal note shows the science always wins IF YOU GO TO COURT @ <$7k in atty costs. This being the case, only 12 of 6100 cases in the State's Public Defender's Office headed to Court for MJ only, @ $1000 ea for retesting and testimony and they WIN. HB13-1114 is a "special" law that targets a special group and does not provide equal protection for Coloradoans from drivers impaired from other drugs than alcohol and marijuana! The cost to enforce misdemeanors is never examined by the legislative staff who examine the true costs of a bill. The local jurisdictions bear the costs of misdemeanor enforcement and all the more reason to support a bill that relieves their law enforcement officers from coming to Court not only on their days off, but anytime, a great police or sheriff's department's budget enhancement! As a matter of fact, local law enforcement may be laying officers off if 1) they no longer enforce possession of small quantities of MJ, 2) Officers need not go to Court to testify to impairment for misdemeanors, reducing not only any overtime but the actual man hours in a law enforcement agency. ML

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

                      *** Prepare to get REGULATED, stoners!! ***

You bong-sucking droolers Voted For This! with that festering turd that is A64!

                       Congratulations !! -- REGULATION WORKS!!

nic01
nic01

Yea i love seeing how "concerned they are" 


they just want money. and to increase there prison populations. 


shame we have to live by still confused misdirected governments. 

Julie Miller
Julie Miller

Because they are Conservatives, and the liberals that passed this stupid bill don't want to listen. DUHHH

mich.cannabisunivers
mich.cannabisunivers

Dear Colorado House Members:

CO Representative Brian DelGrosso, R51, is the only member I hear make a comment on the "Fiscal Note" that is required of each bright idea that legislators come up with...before T.A.B.O.R., a bill passed without somewhat of an idea of its costs. Yesterday in the Appropriations Committee, Rep Mark Waller was asked about the fiscal note on HB13-1114, the DUID PER SE bill. He had to explain that costs related to misdemeanors are exempt from the JBC Staff Fiscal Analysis. THIS little tid bit and passing the DUID PER SE for FELONY traffic (vehicular homicide etc) is the strategy behind Waller and Law Enforcement passing this bill. By mandating a blood draw for a misdemeanor, Waller and Law Enforcement knew anticipated costs would not show on the fiscal note (though the fiscal note does show that HB13-1114 targets a "special" group, nor does it provide Coloradoans with equal protection from other drugs). By manipulating last year's DUID PER SE bill (from HB13-1114: SECTION 1. In Colorado Revised Statutes, 42-4-1301, amend3 (1) (d), (2) (b), (4), and (6) (e); repeal (1) (c); and add (6) (a) (IV), passed when Waller was Speaker of the House, the new legislators are made to think they've given some kind of dispensation to offenders with the words "permissible inference," which requires <$7k to go to Court (all 12 of that do, win because of the bad science, for retesting and expert testimony expenses, so reports the public Defender's Office in the first Fiscal Note). In the end, only law enforcement would support a bill that relieves them to coming to Court to testify for misdemeanors ON THEIR DAY OFF!
Please VOTE NO on HB13-1114...someday it'll be you or a loved one on the side of a Colorado road being poked!
Sincerely.
Michelle LaMay
Lobbyist # 20135000170

Wendy Dennie
Wendy Dennie

Gotta keep that for profit prison racket going some how....

Use_Science
Use_Science

Just show me one study that proves marijuana impairment occurs at 5ng.  THERE ARE NONE!!!  The 5ng limit was pulled out of the air and has NO SCIENTIFIC BASIS!!  This is a feel good measure that will lose in court every time.  Unlike with alcohol, there is not a weed breathalyzer.  Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug with "no known medical benefits".  As a schedule 1 drug, scientists cannot obtain it or do any studies with it.  


Is Rep. Fields a scientist?  Where did she get her idea that 5ng limits are anything more than an arbitrary number pulled out the of the air?  No chance her law doesn't get overturned by the courts.

Tracy Strode
Tracy Strode

It's complete crap meant to grab revenue, completely illegitimate and bogus

Steve At Work
Steve At Work

I don't drive "stoned" but my levels would greatly exceed that set by this law meaning that I risk having to defend myself in court every time I turn the key. We elected these morons to office, maybe it's time we sent them looking for a new job????

Matt Leising
Matt Leising

I think this is great! Hopefully they will continue to apply the multitude of studies they have done to their law making this time

thedawg
thedawg

Dear Lord, I cannot stand this Rhonda Fields, another ignorant politician trying to make a name for herself without any thought to reality or science.

Mane Rok
Mane Rok

The biggest mistake they are making is not paying attention to the people. The second is the test...they're all a bunch of fucking idiots...we all are, and they should be focusing on more test to marijuana and it's effects so we can create better policies. Instead, all these dumbasses remain short sighted. Apply the science...then that to the laws.

Rob Karnisky
Rob Karnisky

It's the prospect of revenue that has taken the movement this far, and it's the movement's best hope to continue forward.

Mary Teerlinck
Mary Teerlinck

Or maybe it's because critics thought email protest would actually be effective. How could forwarding junk email NOT get their point across?

Che Harness
Che Harness

In theory that seems nice, especially as a libertarian. In reality the only other choice is a republican, and that seems worse.

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

I don't want to share the road with drunks or people texting, but I still do! This is an unfair measure of sobriety for pot smokers, period. There is no test that says "your stoned right now and impaired to drive." All this proposed test does is say you have MJ in your system. Its just a way to get people into the courts and make them pay. Revenue man revenue!

Suni Daze
Suni Daze

I cant believe I voted for this !!!

Steve At Work
Steve At Work

I foresee many jury trials as folks are certainly going to fight any marijuana-related DUI charge. The more trials, the more we clog the courts.

Alexis O'Leary
Alexis O'Leary

"Am I driving ok man?" "I think we're parked man"

Sean McGuire
Sean McGuire

Limit our governmental powers or we are going to continue spiraling downhill.

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

That exactly what they are trying to do, they lost the costumers for possession and need a new way to get pot smokers into the system. Sadly its not about safety but revenue for the courts!

Che Harness
Che Harness

Because they are still basing their opinions on lies that have been spread about marijuana for over 40 years. They just can't believe that marijuana doesn't affect a persons driving ability. Unless of course a person is trying to load a bowl, then that's about as much a distraction as changing your radio station or answering your cell phone.

Rob GraayWolf Denman
Rob GraayWolf Denman

vote accordingly the next election... it's a no brainer... vote all the people that voted for it out of office next election

Bret Egan
Bret Egan

Why is anyone surprised? We are squandering billions in green energy schemes based on junk science, so when junk science sticks its nose into this public policy debate, even more people lap it up.

Suni Daze
Suni Daze

This stinks !! I dont smoke and drive ...... and Im medical .......... I smoke daily . This stupid law is going to criminalize me again for weed . ISNT that what we have been trying to avoid since legalizing it ????? FUCKIN LAME !!!!!!!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@mich.cannabisunivers 

The Marijuana McLawyers who stand to profit MILLIONS of $$$ from this fiasco are LAUGHING at how easy it was to get the clueless gullible bong-sucking stoners to vote against their own self-interest and for the pro-law enforcement prohibitionist crap that is A64!

* Get REGULATED, chumps! ... you begged for this via A64! *

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@John McLaughlin Hope not. Thanks for the post, John.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@John McLaughlin ... DESERVEDLY SO for promoting and voting for that PIECE OF CRAP known as A64!

Reap what ye sow, suckers!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@mich.cannabisunivers 

Too bad the Lying Liars who wrote and promoted A64 -- i.e. Marijuana McLawyers who stand to reap a financial windfall from this DUI-m clusterfuck -- and the clueless stoners who voted for it were too fucking stoned to INCLUDE any scientifically objective THC limits in A64 before they surrendered TOTAL CONTROL of marijuana over to the same Big Government Bureaucrats, anti-pot Law Enforcement Goons and the Insatiable Dept. of Revenue.

EVERYONE who voted for A64 DESERVES this !!

*** REGULATION WORKS!! -- now prepare to get REGULATED, stoners! ***


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Wendy Dennie ... trivially easy to do when Stupid Stoners fuck themselves with self-defeating prohibitionist crap like A64.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Use_Science ... the clueless STONERS who voted for A64, which turned TOTAL CONTROL of REGULATION over to Politicians like Rep. Fields DESERVE every piece of REGULATION that gets rammed up their quivering sphincters!

Lube Up!, stoners!! ... there's LOTS MORE REGULATION to come !!

                                   *** REGULATION WORKS!! ***


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Tracy Strode ... a revenue grab created when the CLUELESS STONERS who voted for A64 surrendered TOTAL CONTROL of marijuana over to the same Big Government Bureaucrats, anti-pot Politicians, Law Enforcement Goons and Insatiable Dept. of Revenue who've been running the Drug War for the past 40+ years!

You clueless bong-sucking ignorant stoners so DESERVE THIS !!

        *** REGULATION WORKS!! -- get REGULATED Bitches!! ***


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Half Aspen ... so what idiots surrendered TOTAL CONTROL of marijuana over to those Big Government Bureaucrats, anti-pot Politicians and Law Enforcement Goons via that worthless piece of crap known as A64?

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Half Aspen Strong words, Half Aspen. Thanks for sharing them.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@thedawg ... but you were STUPID ENOUGH to surrender total control of marijuana over to Big Government anti-pot Politicians like her via the festering turd that is A64, weren't you stoner?


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Mane Rok "The biggest mistake ..."

Was when pig-ignorant stoner simpletons Voted for the Pro-Law Enforcement A64!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Davey Bessette ... and you clueless fools were ignorant enough to hand them a BLANK CHECK when you voted for A64 !!

*** REGULATION WORKS!! -- now bend over and get REGULATED!! ***


badbillied
badbillied

@Half Aspen 

Colorado and Washinton are going to be the models that the rest of the states in the country, that are considering doing something in regard to access for medical marijuana or any/all legalization that would help then design a structure for setting up a similar program.

Polticians and Big Pharma are freaking out, not to mention law enforcement and private prisons.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Half Aspen ... the only thing clogged is your brain.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@David W Smith 

The Marijuana McLawyers who will reap MILLIONS of $$$ defending the same clueless fools who voted for A64.

Reap what ye Sow, suckers !!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Suni Daze ... yet you were STUPID enough to vote for A64, weren't you?

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...