One large issue we will have to address with re-legalization is “drugged driving.” No one should drive impaired. It really is that simple. For alcohol impairment various tests have been developed to determine if a driver might be impaired. It is inevitable that a similar battery of tests will be devised to divine if you are driving too soon after your use of cannabis. The question and challenge is, what are those tests going to be? Colorado is discussing the matter.
Colorado is debating a “proposal to become the third state with a blood-level limit for marijuana, much as the nation has a blood-alcohol limit of .08. Seventeen states have some sort of blood limit for drugged driving convictions, including drugs other than marijuana. The proposal before Colorado lawmakers would limit THC to 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Driving under the influence of marijuana is already illegal, but convictions rely on officer observation as well as a blood test. Colorado’s so-called “D-U-High” bill would make it simpler to convict drivers with a blood THC level at 5 nanograms or higher.”
If there is a test for active THC it’s news to me. Greenies, know anything about this?
“Marijuana activists are fighting the proposal because they say blood THC tests are an unfair gauge of impairment. Because the body processes marijuana differently than alcohol, they say, a clear blood limit could endanger marijuana patients who aren’t impaired. Activists also argue that marijuana-related convictions are up in Colorado because more police officers are trained to look for stoned drivers, not because there’s an epidemic.”
“Colorado lawmakers have considered marijuana DUI bills before but failed to agree. A similar bill failed last year by a single vote in the Senate, and another version died last week when the regular session concluded.
Voters in Washington state will consider a 5 nanogram THC driving limit this fall on a ballot measure about marijuana legalization.”
Change is coming, and we need to talk about what that change is going to include. The problem with the blood test approach to impaired-by-drugs driving is, if the blood test is for cannabis metabolites, then any regular user regularly has those metabolites present. Whether the metabolite-present person is, at the same time, impaired is an additional question. Those are two separate questions. If you get in a fender-bender and are required to give blood, you may be a metabolite-present, no-evidence-of-impairment “drugged driver” who caused an accident.
There’s a Greenie out there who knows abut these tests. Please check in and share what you know. Thanks to you for that, and thanks to ABC News for our original story.
[image: Google images Colorado flag]