Medical Marijuana

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Colorado senate clears marijuana DUI bill

Medical Marijuana Posted May 1 2012

Clorado senate clears marijuana DUI billColorado is close to setting a new standard for all of its drivers; a marijuana blood standard. The Colorado senate voted 18-17 yesterday to support the marijuana DUI bill, with the tie breaking vote coming from Sen. Nancy Spence.

Spence's vote put her in agreement with sponsoring Sen. Steve King, a Grand Junction Republican who argued that the explosion of pot use in Colorado since the state approved medical marijuana in 2000 made it past time to have a driving blood limit. Spence's vote put her in agreement with sponsoring Sen. Steve King, a Grand Junction Republican who argued that the explosion of pot use in Colorado since the state approved medical marijuana in 2000 made it past time to have a driving blood limit.

The bill proposes the idea that drivers would be considered impared if they tested positive for more than 5 nanograms of THC per mililiter of blood. Opponents of the bill including Sen Pat Steadmen (Dem.) make the point that marijuana users could be unfairly deemed impaired. Unlike alcohol, blood limits of THC can remain above the legal limit even when a user is not high. "Some of these people wake up in the morning and roll out of bed at 5 nanograms," said Steadman, who tried and failed to amend the bill to exempt card-holding medical marijuana patients.

The fact that Colorado would allow any amount of THC in a driver's blood when marijuana remains illegal under federal law posed a dilemma for some lawmakers. One of the Senate's most conservative members, Berthoud Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg, pointed out the dilemma before he voted against the blood standard. "It's not that simple a situation in a state where we do, constitutionally, provide for medical marijuana," Lundberg said.

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