For some time, the Colorado legislature has been reviewing a bill that aims to set a legal limit for drivers with regards to marijuana use.
Under this bill, House Bill 13-1114, the legal limit for driving and marijuana use would be 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood for THC (which is marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient). This limit would be equivalent to the existing DUI limit of .08 BAC for drivers impaired by alcohol. Drivers caught with such an amount of the drug in their blood could be arrested for DUI.
The final vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee was 4-1, ultimately rejecting the blood standard. Although Colorado and Washington are the first two states in the country to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, the committee felt there was a lack of scientific information on marijuana content in the blood, and that there was a significant concern with regards to impaired driving and public safety.
Some believe that the recent Supreme Court ruling on blood test consent may have had an impact on the outcome of the vote. The Supreme Court decision stated that the police must first obtain a warrant for a blood sample if the driver does not consent to the blood alcohol test. While some of lawmakers believed that the 5-nanogram ruling could still be enforced despite the given measure, other lawmakers disagreed on its feasibility.
Similar bills have also been rejected by Colorado legislature in the past, although proponents claim that more laws will be proposed in the future. After all, this bill took less than a week to find its way back in the Senate.
According to a representative who initiated House Bill 1317, a standard must be set if marijuana has already been legalized. The representative has proposed to amend the stoned-driving limit into this bill.
A number of state officials have already voiced their support for this proposal. The state’s attorney general, for one, stated that his office would not back up any marijuana regulations if a limit for stoned-driving were not included.
House Bill 1317 will establish rules for recreational marijuana stores, and will also include provisions to allow sellers and growers to operate independently. If a DUI provision is to be added to this bill, however, it must be done within the next two weeks so that it can still be reviewed prior to the closing of the current legislative session.
Marijuana in Minnesota
In the state of Minnesota, marijuana is still considered illegal. Possession of less than 42.5g of marijuana will result in a misdemeanor. Offenses that involve larger amounts of marijuana, dealing or distributing marijuana, or repeat offenses are considered as felonies, and may result in hefty fines and jail time.
If you are charged with a crime in the state of Minnesota, call the Kans Law Firm at (952) 835-6314 for a free consultation and case evaluation.