Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado, state lawmakers are working towards passing a “drugged driving” law.
Perhaps this is a function of unintended consequences of Colorado voters approving Amendment 64, but officials are worried about the public safety ramifications of an increase in stoned motorists.
Although being plastered by pot is not nearly as cut and dried as being bombed on booze, Colorado lawmakers have a proposal on the table. The consensus among both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature is that the somewhat arbitrary legal limit will be five nanograms of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The CBS Denver affiliate explains the proposed pot DUI law provides some flexibility for those who, for example, might be smoking dope for medical reasons:
“Under a bill by [GOP Rep. Mark] Waller the DUI limit will be five nanograms of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot. But even if a driver reaches that limit, he or she could get off.
” ‘You can put on evidence that says you’re not under the influence when over the five nanograms,’ Waller said.
“Waller, a former prosecutor, admits the burden of proof will be higher for police and prosecutors. They can’t just point to the test as proof of impairment, but will need evidence like dangerous driving or slurred speech.”
The Denver Post reports that the state legislature failed to pass a similar law twice before over disagreements about a one-size-fits-all approach. But this compromise measure which doesn’t make a pot DUI conviction virtually automatic seems to enjoy bipartisan support:
“Under the latest draft, people caught over the THC limit could argue in court that they weren’t impaired, an opportunity not afforded booze-drinking drivers caught over the legal blood-alcohol limit.”
Watch a CBS video report on the proposed drugged-driving law: