Colorado House considers expanding DUI law to include marijuana
By Alex Murray
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.
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.
The bill is now headed to the Appropriations Committee. 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.
- Colorado House of Representatives
- Mark Waller
- Rhonda Fields
- John Hickenlooper
- Colorado Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Amendment 64 (2012)
- Marijuana ballot measures
- Denver Post, "Too stoned to drive bill passes first test in Colorado House committee," February 26, 2013
- Westword, "Marijuana: Would THC driving bill help people busted for alcohol DUIs beat the rap?" February 26, 2013
- KMGH-TV, "Driving under the influence of marijuana: Bill to set THC blood test passes unanimously in committee," February 26, 2013
- The Associated Press, "Driving stoned bill clears 1st Colo. hurdle," February 26, 2013