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Pot level for unsafe driving still hazy

Most people know that Colorado's legal threshold for alcohol is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content. If a person has that BAC or above, they can be arrested for DUI in our state.

What's less clear is how much of the active ingredient of marijuana can be in a person's system in order to consider them legally impaired. Scientists and lawmakers are still trying to figure out if there is a bright DUID line and where it lies.

As you might know, if a person's blood is tested in Colorado on suspicion of driving while high, and the test indicates 5 nanograms or more of THC in the blood, they can be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs.

However, one of the leaders of the drive to legalize recreational pot use here says that level might not be a fair or accurate one. He said some people new to marijuana might be impaired with 5 nanograms of THC in their blood, but for people who ingest the drug more frequently, that level of THC might not indicate impairment.

The 5 nanogram test level might well be too low for users of medicinal marijuana, he added.

The deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) said "there clearly is a need for new approaches to determine impairment."

The organization recently participated in creation of a phone app enabling people to check their physical and mental skills after intake of marijuana.

Of course, results from an app aren't going to be of use in court to a person arrested for DUID. Instead, those facing such a charge should speak with an attorney experienced in defending client rights and driving privileges. 

Source: KSHB, "Many pot tests, but no certainty how much is too much," Lee Bowman, March 23, 2014

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