COLORADO MARIJUANA DUI BILL ADVANCES, THC BLOOD LEVEL LIMITS CLEARED FOR A VOTE BY THE FULL HOUSE
April 16, 2013
It looks like a .5 ng standard for a jury to infer guilt of Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis is soon to become a reality for Colorado drivers. House Bill 1114 will require judges to instruct jurors in DUI of Marijuana cases that they may infer that drivers are under the influence of marijuana or cannabis if their blood concentration of active THC is 5ng per ml of blood or greater at the time of driving or a reasonable time thereafter. Three previous efforts to set a per se standard from driving under the influence of marijuana have failed in the Colorado legislature.
However, this most recent effort appears ready to pass through the legislature and eventually be signed into law by the governor. Many believe such legislation is necessary to keep our roadways safe from stoned drivers in light of the recent passage of Amendment 64 to the State Constitution, which allows anyone 21 or over to legally possess an ounce or less of marijuana. However, frequent users of cannabis may surpass the .5 ng limit and not demonstrate impaired driving. Undoubtedly the legislation will make convictions easier to obtain. Frequent and medicinal users of marijuana will inevitably experience increased prosecution and ultimate conviction of impaired driving as a consequence.
To counter increased enforcement and the perils of this most recent legislation requires an aggressive defense by a skilled advocate capable of demonstrating that a driver is not impaired at such a low level.