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DUI marijuana bill won't become Colorado law

In a previous post we shared how a new law regarding impaired driving might be added to Colorado's books. A vote last week, however, keeps DUI laws related to marijuana stagnant. The legislative development has resulted in passionate responses from both sides, those who saw the proposal as common sense and those who saw it as a hasty attempt to control a problem that might not exist.

House Bill 1114 would have set a THC limit for drivers at 5 nanograms. Identifying that measurement would require a blood test, which is clearly more invasive than a breath test. Supporters of the proposal worry that with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, more impaired drivers will be on the road, and police need a way to support a DUI drug arrest. Doubt regarding the bill won over this time, likely just putting off when a similar law will be enacted in the state.

The House passed the bill early in the month, but Senate Judiciary Committee rejected it last week. Critics of the bill worry that the science behind it is not solid or tested enough to support the legislation. What does a 5-nanogram limit really mean, and is it a fair judgment of impairment? Passing a law that would make it easier to charge someone with a crime shouldn't be done without thorough consideration. Plus, the sick who rely on marijuana as treatment might become targets of DUID arrests in Colorado.

This won't be the last attempt to create a DUI marijuana law in the state. It is also important for drivers to know that they can still face legal trouble for driving under the influence of marijuana if they show signs of impairment. Someone who is charged with DUI should work with a criminal defense lawyer whom they trust.

Source: Fox 31 Denver, "Father blasts Colo. lawmakers for killing DUID bill: ‘They voted in favor of pot smokers instead of victims’," Eli Stokes, April 23, 2013  

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