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Colorado Senate Considers New Marijuana DUID Parameters

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four in the afternoon

This photo was taken on February 22, 2007, in Capitol Hill, Denver, CO. The photographer writes: "this kid put a LOT of work and attention into this joint. i must've taken a dozen shots from 3 or 4 angles, but he was too focused on the precious weed to notice."

The Colorado Senate is considering a new bill that would set a threshold level of THC in drivers’ bodies as the standard for determining intoxication. THC is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that needs to be present in a person’s blood before the person is guilty of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). The bill, introduced by Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, would set driving impairment levels at 5 nanograms of THC or higher per milliliter of blood.

According to a press release appearing on U.S. Politics Today:

By contrast, in the context of drunk driving, a person with a blood alcohol content or BAC of .08 or above is guilty of DUI ‘per se,’ legally speaking, once a person drives with a BAC of .08 or higher they are automatically guilty of DUI, regardless of impairment. […]

Colorado is not the first state to set, or attempt to set, THC impairment levels. Twelve states use a zero-tolerance approach, where any level of THC is considered impairment; Ohio and Nevada set impairment at 2 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood; and, Pennsylvania uses 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood, but only as a guideline from the Health Department that can be introduced into court during DUID cases.

Meanwhile, in a related matter, Colorado’s U.S. attorney, John Walsh, has sent a new round of letters to the owners of 25 medical marijuana dispensaries that are within 1,000 feet of a school, saying they must close within 45 days or face prosecution, as Felisa Cardona writes in The Denver Post.

Cardona notes that the letters were sent out just over a week after Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett asked Walsh to drop the crackdown on dispensaries that were following state law, and that a spokesman for Walsh said the Boulder dispensaries were on a list to receive the letters before Garnett made his request.

The letters are the second round of action taken by federal authorities against the medical marijuana depots, which are legal under state law but illegal under federal laws. The first round of letters were sent by the U.S. Attorney in January to owners of 23 dispensaries near schools, saying they needed to move or close.

Image by Rob! [no real name given], used under its Creative Commons license.

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