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THC driving limit's passage means pot critic William Breathes may never drive legally again

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Yesterday, a marijuana activist said that a controversial THC driving bill, a version of which failed each of the past two years, appeared to be a lock for passage -- and he was right. The measure breezed through by a 24-11 vote despite what critics describe as an almost total lack of scientific evidence to suggest that the intoxication standard is accurate for all people. Indeed, once the law is signed, Westword marijuana critic William Breathes likely will not be able to drive without breaking the law. Details below.

As we've reported, driving while stoned is currently illegal under Colorado law. But unlike in the case of alcohol, there's no number at which a marijuana-using driver is considered to be officially 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.

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.

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Rhonda Fields.
This year, the five nanogram limit was still part of the legislation, originally known as HB 1114, but the per se language vanished from the measure, sponsored by Representative Rhonda Fields. Instead, the text referred to "permissible inference," which would allow people who register at five nanograms or above to present other evidence in court to prove that they weren't actually impaired, rather than being considered guilty as a result of the test reading.

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

However, Fields, who's also the sponsor of 1114's sequel, HB 13-1325, 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, in an interview last month, she expressed confidence that innocent people wouldn't 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."

This argument didn't convince the Senate Judiciary Committee, which rejected 1114 due in part to a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling against warrantless blood draws after drunk-driving arrests. But the THC limit was reintroduced, and thanks in part to pressure from law-enforcement groups, which said in a letter to Governor John Hickenlooper that passing marijuana laws without such a standard would be irresponsible, the measure gathered steam.

In the end, it appears that a majority of legislators decided that passing a dubious law that may result in innocent people being prosecuted would be politically better than to be seen as doing nothing after retail pot operations open and potentially tens of thousands of additional marijuana smokers hit the streets.

Problem is, medical marijuana patients' regular use of cannabis means their system is always over the five nanogram limit. For proof, turn to a 2011 post in which MMJ critic William Breathes's blood tested at nearly triple the legal limit fifteen hours after he last smoked, with a doctor declaring him to be sober.

Look below to see that entire article, which puts into context the way the soon-to-become law places patients like Breathes at risk in the name of safety.

Continue for William Breathes's original post about blood testing and lingering THC.


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211 comments
Steve At Work
Steve At Work

We elected liars, scoundrels, and idiots. Why do you expect responsible legislation?

Sharon Krell
Sharon Krell

fact is that misuse of prescription drugs is the biggest problem with impairment, not use of marijuana.

Rob Strong Paw Ruby
Rob Strong Paw Ruby

if you cant drive safely when you're stoned you probably are a shitty driver while sober too, that or you're 16 years old..

Mar Marcia
Mar Marcia

they do if reported, accident or appear to be altered... Pathetic uninformed argument. Foolish arguments are for fools that will drive and impaired regardless of substance or state.. they depend on their entitlement mindset to rationalize to themselves and mindless others that its all good.. ugh

Corey Donahue
Corey Donahue

Ricky it´s not underhanded it blaitent. From the law. (k) IN ANY TRAFFIC STOP, THE DRIVER'S POSSESSION OF A VALID MEDICAL MARIJUANA REGISTRY IDENTIFICATION CARD, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 25-1.5-106(2)(e),C.R.S., ISSUED TO HIMSELF OR HERSELF SHALL NOT, IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER CONTRIBUTING FACTORS, CONSTITUTE PROBABLE CAUSE FOR A PEACE OFFICER TO REQUIRE THE DRIVER TO SUBMIT TO AN ANALYSIS OF HIS OR HER BLOOD. So everyone who has a red card just gave their implied concent to get their blood illegally draw. So that kills all medical. And the interstate commerce that is created by allowing out of staters to buy in Colorado should kill A64 as interstate commerce is the best supremecy clause the feds can use. God bless A64 a reciminalization of cannabis for the 21st century.

Mar Marcia
Mar Marcia

Sorry his chronic illness but it is not all about the consumer... it is about the safety of those other precious human beings on the roads and sidewalks. Driving while cognitively altered is the same for prescription drugs like, oxy et al. Beside Colorado has the largest population in the U.S. of Chronically ill 20 year olds bwahahaha.

John Ashley
John Ashley

or they could take the bus and light rail....

Ricky Charles
Ricky Charles

The new driving law is an underhanded attempt to target medical marijuana patients.

EJ Benko
EJ Benko

No more unfair than the draconian gun laws those idiots rushed to pass

Jeff Buske
Jeff Buske

it's such a joke - if the powers that be were so concerned - why not a test for pills like xanax and so on - sleep deprivation test? and nothing being done on texting and driving? urgghh!

BuddJones
BuddJones

December 1, 2011 Denver Dispensary locations started the year off at near 1000 licensed Medical Marijuana locations in the Denver Metro
area alone. Competition is fierce as Master Growers continue to increase quality while excessive quantity drives prices down!

gusepe
gusepe

www.canorml.org/healthfacts/DUICreport.2005.pdf


Several studies have compared the degree of impairment caused by cannabis and alcohol. The results of a meta-analysis of about 90 experimental studies of the impact of smoked and oral cannabis on driving suggest that mean THC concentrations in serum correlate well with impairment in performance during the post-acute and residual phases. Comparison with the results of a meta-analysis on alcohol and driving suggests that a THC concentration in serum of about 4 ng/mL, caused by smoking or oral use of cannabis, is associated with the same overall performance impairment as a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04% (percent by weight). In a similar sense, a BAC of 0.08% corresponds approximately to a THC concentration in serum of 9–10 ng/mL.

sucka1
sucka1

We may never get to drive legally again but at least we LEGALIZED marijuana! 

BuddJones
BuddJones

Yah Mon, this is the place where reggae is welcomed and dreadlocks are common. Boulder is Colorado Cannabis Capitol and fine, exquisite, exotic strains like Panama Red, Thai Sticks, Colombian are historic and true. Yah Mon, this is where the Master Growers go for Happy Hour every work day of the week.

grideren
grideren

@Julie Miller calls for zero "tollerence" for all drugs!  Can't regulate yourself?  Don't worry, morons like jules and the idiotic legislators will regulate you if you beg them.  Regulate sugar like alcohol!  Restrict sales of sugar to adults 21 and up!  Test for sugar impairment!  Roadside glucose tests for the safety of our society!  Think about the children!

What Is The Normal Range For Blood Sugar Levels, And What Blood Sugar Level Constitutes A True Emergency?

"if the blood sugar drops below about 60 or 65 milligrams per deciliter, people will generally get symptoms, which are some shakiness, feeling of hunger, maybe a little racing of the heart and they will usually be trenchant or if they eat something, it goes away right away. But if blood sugar drops below 50 and can get down as low as 40 or 30 or even 20, then there is a progressive loss of mental function and eventually unconsciousness and seizures. And of course that is very dangerous and a medical emergency."

"On the other side, if blood sugar gets up above 180 to 200, then it exceeds the capacity of the kidneys to reabsorb the glucose and we begin to spill glucose into the urine. And if it gets way up high, up in the 400s or even 500s, it can be associated with some alteration in mental function. And in this situation, if it persists for a long time, we can actually see mental changes as well. So either too low or very exceedingly high can cause changes in mental function."

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/DiabetesScreening/story?id=3812946#.UYsceErxRhA

BuddJones
BuddJones

I offer my blood to someone who wants to experiment with nano grams, I have a red card and smoke every day

BuddJones
BuddJones

Lets just all take a 57 minute smoke break.....

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

A64: "DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA SHALL REMAIN ILLEGAL"

What IDIOTS would vote that into the Constitution and FAIL to define it?

Were the Marijuana McShysters lyin' Brian Vicente and mendacious Mason Tvert insufferably incompentent ?? ... or did they do it ON PURPOSE ??


Biggie.Balls
Biggie.Balls

You would think that someone like Representative Rhonda Fields that has a criminal record and has been through the criminal justice system would understand how this legislation will be used against people like herself.  Minorities stand to lose the most from this legislation.  It will become a favorite police tool to profile people just like the original marijuana laws from 1930s.  These Reps just don't understand the long term effects of their "feel good" laws they pass.  Driving under the influence was already illegal, so they did nothing...high five!  This is a racist law!

Monkey
Monkey

Vampires! What about people diagnosed with Trypanophobia (fear of needles)? It's like saying, let us torture you so we can have more evidence against you, or give up your drivers license.

BuddJones
BuddJones

Flashback (Not the LSD or Acid Trip You Think)

Denver Dispensary – Patients Unofficial Rights   February 15, 2012

With all the controversy surrounding the legalization of marijuana and if Medical Marijuana should be permitted or not its no wonder that the focus is on the money not the patient. Still,  its great not to have to buy Marijuana illegally or to suffer through the rituals of learning how to grow perfectly sweet and desirable medication. This leads to another argument which many say is the way of the future; private growers, legalization, and recreational use without an excuse. Until then we’ll just have to sit on the sidelines and watch investors, Big Brother, and local municipalities fight over revenues which may turn out to be just a smoke screen.

The Patients. The people who suffer from a variety of ailments many of which have no known pharmaceutical cure nor do these people have insurance let alone employment.  It was a great move by the state of Colorado to reduce the annual registration fee from $90 to $35 but was that a reaction to the declining annual renewals (signaling too much!) or a gesture empathy for Mankind?

The Patients:  Reveling in joy as the cost of medication has fallen as quickly as the annual renewals but in the process the absence of MMJ Testing biz Full Spectrum Labs has created great mystery. WTF is in the Cannabis? It looks good or at least some does and it smells good or at least some of it does and it taste good or at least some of it does.  Some dispensary budtenders will tell you there is no way to measure or test the THC content so they don’t bother. There is the unpleasant and unspoken attitude of “just trust me” that causes many to not trust anyone and just hope that there’s nothing in the medicine that is artificially creating the intended effect. Is this why so many Denver Dispensaries are going to one flat rate for all strains since they truly do not know the difference between the Sour Diesel and the AK-47, scientifically speaking that is. “Couch Lock” is not found in any Medical Reference Guides that the good Dr. has read.

BuddJones
BuddJones

@gusepe

THROW AWAY YOUR PROZAC!

Everyone deserves to live a magnificent and inspired life. Way down deep inside everyone has something extraordinary that they want to bring to the world and all you need to do is give yourself permission to do it. Don't let anyone stop you from doing what you know you are called to do because there is extraordinary power inside you to do extraordinary things. Document and count your blessings every day and often during the day. People that are grateful for what they got get more to be grateful for. It helps you open your heart. The quality of your life is based upon the quality of the questions that you ask. And if you ask questions that bring equilibration and balance back into the mind then the heart opens. Never forget; Every challenge is just a refinement of your mission. Ask your Doctor today about the benefits of Medical Marijuana!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@sucka1  ... Verordnung funktioniert!



BuddJones
BuddJones

@Josh Bradley

@syntaxterror7 I'm sorry. As a patient, I was a lot better off yesterday, and before A64, now. Before medical, I could probably grow at home and medicate just fine, and the hysteria over pot would have been at a minimum in this state as it was before A20. Now, if someone T-bones my car in an accident, I'll probably get auto-tested for pot and go to jail, because somehow I "caused" the other driver screw up.

Then again, I had the sense not to ask the government to tax and regulate my life by voting for A64.

For what it's worth, we could have turned down the Faustian and held out for something that resembled freedom.


BuddJones
BuddJones

However, Fields, who's also the sponsor of 1114's sequel, HB 13-1325, 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, in an interview last month, she expressed confidence that innocent people wouldn't be convicted as a result of the limit.

Biggie.Balls
Biggie.Balls

@DonkeyHotay Those two aren't interested in the results just the attention they can get.  All desperate self promotion...like a couple high school girls.  Mason is incompetent (has this guy ever had a real job?) and of course Vicente is a liar.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Biggie.Balls ... you would think that Stupid Stoners weren't so fucking stupid as to have proposed the festering turd A64 ... much less actually pass that piece of shit into the Colorado Constitution.


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Biggie.Balls Naw. She's a died in the wool fascist, no matter whether you are a polemic lefty or righty, or whether you respect all freedoms. She's a bona fide threat to liberty.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey ... of course it never crossed your chimp-like brain to simply ... wait for it ...

.... here it comes ...

         .... almost there ....           STOP SMOKING POT?!?

Al_Swearengen
Al_Swearengen

@DonkeyHotay @Biggie.Balls You are the dumbest fuckhead on the internet.  I can't believe how much energy you waste shitting up every thread on this site.

You think you're so provocative and witty, when you come off as some mentally-ill asshole who just can't keep his fucking piehole shut.  Just one dumb stupid turd of herp-derp after another...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident "She's a died [sic] in the wool fascist,"

When did she die, you stump-stupid stammering stoner?

Monkey
Monkey

 @DonkeyHotay  Why would anyone do that? I'll just claim I need to use marijuana before they draw my blood, because I have Trypanophobia, and the fear of needles causes muscle spasms and pain, which I am allowed to control with marijuana. But I'm happy to take another test, officer.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Al_Swearengen

Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man ...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Al_Swearengen = reads every one of my posts.

In life you have to do a lot of things you don’t fucking want to do. Many times, that’s what the fuck life is… one vile fucking task after another.

BuddJones
BuddJones

@DonkeyHotay@Biggie.Balls Naw. She's a died in the wool fascist, no matter whether you are a polemic lefty or righty, or whether you respect all freedoms. She's a bona fide threat to liberty. Geez Doofus

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident There's nothing wrong with my literacy. Typing similar homonyms is a common typo, and it shows your inability to discuss anything of substance.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey ... spoken like an alcoholic making pathetic excuses for their alcoholism.


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