In January, we shared a post about a proposal that would change the way the system handles drivers under the influence of marijuana. House Bill 1261 went before Colorado's House Judiciary Committee last week and passed.
That means the bill is one step closer to becoming law, though there's still quite a process ahead of lawmakers before the decision is finalized. And not everyone is on board with the proposed drug DUI legislation. Those who depend on medical marijuana and those who support its medical use suspect that the proposed law is merely a way to target medical marijuana users.
What does HB 1261 propose? According to a Denver report, the law would mean that someone with 5 nanograms or more of THC in their system while driving could be cited for DUI. THC is the mind-altering chemical in marijuana.
Those in support of the 5 nanogram rule believe that the limit would make the roads safer. They believe a limit needs to be set in order for officials to have a guideline to apply in their work of protecting Colorado residents. With the legalization of medical marijuana in the state, addressing the legalization's effect on traffic safety has been a priority among Colorado lawmakers.
But not everyone is sold on the idea of setting a 5 nanogram limit regarding drug DUI charges. They say that the limit wouldn't take into account different medical marijuana users' varying responses to the drug. Some patients have used the drug longer or need to take more in order to benefit from the drug. Plus, not everyone displays the same level of impairment just because they have 5 nanograms or more of THC in their systems.
The critics worry that the proposed legislation is less about public safety and more about placing a stigma on medical marijuana users. Nonetheless, HB 1261 is moving forward and could still be passed. We will keep you updated about the bill as new details develop.
Kdvr.com: "Bill setting marijuana DUI limits gets first approval at State Capitol," Ivan Moreno, 11 Mar. 2011