Colorado ‘Driving While Stoned’ Bill Fails

Driving While StonedDespite repeated attempts by lawmakers to give police the power to identify and arrest drivers under the influence of marijuana, two separate bills designed to do just this ultimately failed to garner enough support and died in the legislature.

The measure when intended to set a blood level THC content for police to test for. THC is the chemical in marijuana which creates the ‘high’ that makes it popular with some people. The effect is similar to being drunk. It stimulates some senses, and diminishes others. This creates a situation where drivers under the influence have reduced reaction times and a decrease in their cognitive skills.

Although medical marijuana is widely used and legal in Colorado, police and some law makers have said it poses a serious risk to drivers who might be either under the influence of marijuana or sharing the road with someone who is.

Without the new law it is nearly impossible for police or prosecutors to prove that a driver is under the influence of marijuana. They can cite drivers for driving recklessly, or violating traffic laws, but if they believe the underlying cause is marijuana influence, they have no tool to prevent or provide for that.

Police and prosecutors, while not opposed to medical marijuana, have said they believe of driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and a threat to public safety. They said the proposed law would have given them a tool to help fight driving under the influence of marijuana, and help convince drivers that driving under the influence of marijuana was dangerous.

Having failed repeatedly to bring the proposed marijuana influence law to a full vote, the Colorado legislature seems unwilling to pick up the issue again any time soon. Although some in the legislature have said they are committed to the effort and said they will not rest until law enforcement is given the tools to control what they consider a serious risk to public safety.


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