DENVER (CBS4) – A bill would that would set new DUI standards for people who smoke marijuana continues to cause controversy in Colorado.
The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is THC. The bill would say drivers with five nanograms of THC in their blood would be considered impaired. However, medical marijuana attorney Rob Corry argues setting a standard for impairment is impossible.
“Nobody knows how much you have to smoke to get five nanograms because every type of marijuana is different, every person is different,” Corry said.
“That’s exactly what I heard in the testimony on the floor of the state Senate before I voted for this bill,” said Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial.
So why did Spence change her vote against setting a standard last year?
“I can’t be party to allowing the recreational users to continue to use, continue to cause accidents, possibly on Colorado’s highways,” Spence said.
Spence believes recreational users have taken advantage of state law allowing for medical marijuana.
“They’ve made a sham and a mockery out of the true medical need for patients who are seriously ill to get some level of comfort and quality of life,” Spence said. “The recreational users have ruined it.”
Corry believes the bill would punish medical marijuana patients.
“Some of these people are probably better drivers if they’re using their medicine as the doctor ordered versus if they’re doubled over in pain and can’t even concentrate enough to drive,” Corry said.
Corry said field sobriety tests used now make the bill needless.
“Prosecutors have a 90 percent conviction rate for marijuana charges for DUI that they bring,” he said.
The bill has strong support in the House.
Spence says if the marijuana bill becomes law she hopes it will help establish a definitive impairment standard.