Colorado Lawmakers Work to Put a DUI Limit on Marijuana
KREX News Room
Denver - With the increasing number of medical marijuana users, one state lawmaker said Colorado needs a law to stop people from getting high, and getting behind the wheel. State Senator Steve King is supporting a bill that would set a DUI limit for marijuana.
"In my life experience, with 30 years in law enforcement, there's no way you're going to convince me that you're a better driver when you're high on marijuana," State Senator Steve King said.
Just weeks after being sworn into his newly elected position, King is taking one of the most controversial issues in Colorado: medical marijuana.
"This legislation is going to be addressing the fact that in Colorado, there's no law that deals with someone driving under the influence of marijuana," he said.
It may be hard to believe, but the state had no driving standard when it comes to marijuana. With hundreds of thousands of licensed users, many people and agencies are lobbying for the bill.
"It's still illegal to drive under the influence of any drug, even if you have a medical marijuana card. They're asked to do voluntary roadside maneuvers. We get a chemical test of their blood or urine, and if they're under the influence, then it's the same as alcohol," Grand Junction Police Sgt. Kevin Imbriaco said.
The bill would set a DUI limit for marijuana, much like the DUI limit for drinking and driving. Five nanograms of THC would be the equivalent of a .08 blood alcohol level.
"They're going to be putting a lot of people in jail and give them a ticket to people who don't deserve it," marijuana advocate Travis Chambers said.
Chambers said the test work because regular users may fail even when they're not impaired.
"I could smoke yesterday and they pull me over today, and I will be dirty. That doesn't tell them when you smoke, how long ago you smoked, and they can't tell you," he said.
Many marijuana advocates said there needs to be a law against smoking pot and driving, but it's just not in the new bill. Chambers agreed that there needs to be some form of punishment for people who smoke and drive. He said the solution is through education.
"We need to inform people that it's not okay to smoke and get behind a wheel while your high," he said.
A concern for this bill with even non-marijuana users is cost. Advocates insist that the law would add to court and DMV costs and Colorado's budget shortfall.
Right now the bill is still in the draft stages.