Colorado House considers expanding DUI law to include marijuana

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February 27, 2013

Colorado

By Alex Murray

DENVER, Colorado: Following the legalization of marijuana, two Colorado representatives believe it is high time to include the drug in the state's law against driving under the influence.

House Bill 13-1114 passed the House Judiciary Committee by a unanimous vote on Tuesday. Sponsored by Minority Leader Mark Waller (R) and Rhonda Fields (D), the legislation would set a legal limit of five nanograms of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The bill would also allow those suspected of driving under the influence of either marijuana or alcohol to present evidence to the contrary in court; current law automatically presumes impairment.[1][2]

Proponents testified that the bill should be passed on grounds of public safety. Opponents argued that blood testing is inaccurate and could discriminate against those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes due to inflated THC levels; they want the state to continue deferment to police officers in determining impairment. Fields likened the legislation to the initial use of blood tests to determine blood-alcohol levels, in that such tests instilled the unacceptability of drunk driving.[3][4]

The bill is now headed to the Appropriations Committee.[1] Attempts to set a legal limit have failed thrice prior to legalization. In the event that it passes both the House and Senate, Governor John Hickenlooper (D) is expected to sign the bill into law.[4]

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