A bill in the Colorado State Senate designed to place a limit on the level of marijuana in your system while driving, was struck down earlier this week. Marijuana induced euphoria would have been measured and then calibrated to make an arrest if officers suspected the driver was stoned. Long-haired Colorado citizens rejoiced at the news. More after the jump.
So why did the Colorado Senate abstain from making THC tests a regular occurrence when drivers are stopped for driving erratically? Because there’s not a lot of documented research on the dividing line between impairment and “the giggles.”
In a crucial vote, lawmakers rejected a hard cap on the amount of THC — the psychoactive chemical in marijuana — drivers could have in their systems above which they would be presumed too high to drive. Instead, a divided Senate sided with medical-marijuana advocates, who urged more study of the proposal.
“We are being asked to make policy by anecdote,” Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, said in arguing for extra research. “… Policy should be well-considered.”
With the teeth of the proposal removed, the Senate later voted to kill the bill, a decision that withstood a subsequent procedural challenge 20-15.
If you want to know why the measure was proposed in the first place, lets hear from Steve King, a Grand Junction Republican (no way!) who
said failing to set a THC limit would have real consequences. He cited instances of fatal accidents in which the at-fault drivers tested positive for THC.
“Lives are at risk here,” he said.
But Mitchell noted that some of those drivers had THC levels below the proposed limit — 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Echoing the concerns of a number of lawmakers, Aurora Democratic Sen. Morgan Carroll said she believes the research is inconclusive about how much THC definitively causes impairment, meaning a 5-nanogram limit might snare sober drivers while allowing stoned ones to go free.
Obviously, every time a cop asks you whether you’ve been blazing, you cautiously respond “no,” but it will remain an ambivalent issue until some concrete laws are passed. In the meantime Snoop can still take road trips with his nursing friends.
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