(Feb. 26) – A bill to establish a legal limit for driving after consuming marijuana passed unanimously through the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon.
HB13-1114, sponsored by Reps. Rhoda Fields (D-Aurora) and Mark Waller (R-Colorado Springs), sets a standard of five nanograms of active THC (the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana) for every milliliter of blood. Under the bill, people suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana are presumed to be so if a blood test shows a THC level of five nanograms or more, just as they are deemed to be drunk if their blood alcohol content is at least 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
But unlike last year’s version of the bill, which failed in the House, a defendant is permitted to argue that he was not impaired by a blood THC level of five or more. The change was made to allow for habitual marijuana users who build up a tolerance for the drug and may be unimpaired with a blood THC level above five.
“This is about public safety,” Rep. Fields said. “The voters have told us with Amendment 64 that we have to come up with regulations to govern recreational marijuana use, but we certainly don’t want our streets full of stoned drivers endangering law-abiding citizens.”