A few weeks ago, the Senate of Colorado gave their initial approval for Senate Bill 117, a measure that would make it easier to convict a person driving under the influence of marijuana. Although a nearly identical bill easily passed the Colorado House sometime last year, it was rejected in the Senate.
About Senate Bill 117
Senate Bill 117 aims to set a limit on the amount of THC (a psychoactive chemical found in marijuana) in one’s blood. Under this measure, anyone found with over 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood would be considered impaired and unable to drive.
The bill sponsor, Sen. Steve King, firmly believes that this measure is necessary to curtail the increase of stoned drivers in Colorado. In 2009, a couple hundred drivers tested positive for THC at the state lab… last year this number drastically increased to over 1,000.
Did the Bill Pass?
This year, things will apparently be no different. It appeared that the Colorado Senate had already previously killed the bill by means of a voice vote, but King insisted on a recorded vote as a procedural tactic. The bill initially passed with an 18-17 vote.
However, King’s legislation was rejected for a third time, as lawmakers debated on whether or not a standard THC limit is enough to fairly assess if someone is too stoned to drive. The Colorado Senate produced a 17-17 tie, falling one vote short of the number needed to advance the bill further.
What Skeptics Have to Say
Bill contenders say that the measure will only result in sober motorists being convicted since research isn’t conclusive that everyone with 5 nanograms of THC are stoned. Sen. Pat Steadman stated that existing laws already make it illegal for citizens to drive when stoned – even with less than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood.
Steadman also stipulated that such a measure would hurt the patients who frequently use marijuana for medical purposes, and that these patients likely have even higher standard levels of THC in their bloodstream.
Minnesota Laws on Driving Stoned
To date, approximately fourteen other states have “per se” laws (measures with a defined THC limit for drivers). Other states, on the other hand, have zero-tolerance laws for driving with THC.
In Minnesota, not all controlled substances are viewed equally. Under the state’s Implied Consent Laws, it is not automatically considered a crime to drive with marijuana in your urine or blood. However, you can and probably will lose your driver’s license if a prosecutor can argue that you were driving while impaired.
If Senate Bill 117 passed, Colorado would have been the third state with an enforced blood-level limit for marijuana.
Have you been charged with DWI for Marijuana?
If you’ve recently been charged with DWI, immediately contact a competent DWI attorney in your area. If you are from Minnesota, call Douglas T. Kans of the Kans Law Firm. Attorney Kans has over 17 years of experience with DWI cases and can provide you with the comprehensive defense you need.