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Colorado Drugged Driving Bill Dies -- Again

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #734)

The third time wasn't the charm for Colorado legislators trying to pass a "per se" drugged driving bill aimed directly at marijuana users. The bill died last year in the Senate, it died this year in the House, and on Tuesday, it died once again after Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) brought it back for consideration during a short-lived special session he called to deal with unfinished business.

The bill, House Bill 12S-1005, would have mandated that anyone found driving with more than five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood was presumed to be guilty of driving while impaired. Prosecutors would have needed no other evidence of actual impairment to win a conviction.

The bill failed by a single vote in the Senate Tuesday, with senators split 17-17 on the measure. The bill had already won approval earlier in the day in the House.

The bill was opposed by medical and recreational marijuana advocates and some members of the state legislature, even some Republicans, who argued that it unfairly targeted pot users with a scientifically uncertain measure of impairment.

"I don't think it'll make our roads any safer," said Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver).

Once again, only one vote made the difference. Will the legislature now give up on its quest to criminalize marijuana users who drive? We'll have to check back next year.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Bhonze (not verified)

It is not really an issue with cannabis and driving; It's not quite like driving under the influence of alcohol. You shouldn't smoke while driving or drive right after smoking, It's better to wait an hour or so before driving. We just do not need another reason to lock people up. 

Wed, 05/16/2012 - 1:22pm Permalink
Dirty Harry (not verified)

I believe if a person was "under the influence" of pot in such a way to be a danger, they would not be able to pass the standard roadside sobriety test. If they pass it, they are not disabled to drive. If they can't pass, then they have a problem. Be polite, shut the hell up, follow the instructions and take the roadside test. When/if you pass it, be nice and you should be on your way. But it won't matter if they want to bust you. I have seen people who drank pass the sobriety test showing they were mentally and physically together only to be asked to blow in the portable breathalyzer and taken in because of the number, not because they failed the test. Numbers do not indicate being under the influence in a scientific manner. Everyone is different. I know people who can be fall down drunk on a few beers, but be under the state limit for driving. Everyone is different.

Wed, 05/16/2012 - 4:38pm Permalink

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