Although no definitive study has been done, analysts theorize that there are more drivers operating vehicles under the influence of marijuana than there are drunk drivers. Studies done by the AAA have shown that teenagers believe they are more capable of driving under the effects of marijuana, and do it more often, than alcohol.
Despite what many believe, marijuana is a mind altering substance which has been shown to slow reaction times and impair judgement. Both of which are important for drivers looking to arrive at their destination safely. Traffic school is a good place to learn the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, not on the road behind the wheel of an automobile with your friends in the car.
If Colorado Senate bill 117 is passed into law it will set 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood as the upper limit for THC found in blood samples taken by law enforcement as the standard for intoxication. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana which causes the mind altering effects. By setting an upper limit for marijuana intoxication Colorado lawmakers hope to dissuade users from getting behind the wheel while they are ‘high.’
The Colorado Department of Transportation has been track traffic crashes related to the use of drugs by the driver and the most recent numbers prompted the move by legislators. Colorado state law currently allows for the use of medical marijuana when prescribed by a physician. The lingering effects of marijuana in the bloodstream, often remaining for up to 30 days, have some questioning whether the 5 nanogram limit for testing will prove adequate or accurate, but for lawmakers it’s a good place to start.
The bill still needs to be passed by the entire senate and it is unclear when that might happen. For now marijuana users are on notice that driving stoned will likely no longer be tolerated.