by Thomas H. Clarke
The Daily Chronic
April 4, 2013
House Bill 1114, introduced by Rep. Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs), would allow drivers to be considered impaired if their blood contains more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter.
However, unlike previous bills that have failed in previous sessions, the 5 nanogram limit is not per se, meaning that defendants charged under the statute who possess THC/blood levels above this threshold could continue to provide evidence in criminal court indicating that they did not present a legitimate traffic safety risk, rather than being considered guilty as a result of the test reading.
“For example, if you did not exhibit poor driving, you can put that on as evidence to say, ‘Look my driving was not poor, I’m not unsafe to operate a motor vehicle,’” Rep. Waller said at a hearing on the bill.
“This is about traffic safety in the state of Colorado,” said bill co-sponsor Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora). “This bill will send a very strong message that no longer can you get behind the wheel after smoking marijuana.”
House Bill 1114 was approved by the House Committee on the Judiciary and was then assigned Colorado House Committee on Appropriations.
On Monday, the House Committee on Appropriations approved the bill, sending it to the floor of the House for a floor vote.
The Legislature has tried and failed three times to pass a driving-high blood standard. Previous attempts at passing similar legislation passed in the House, but failed in the Senate.
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