Third Pot DUI Bill Fails in Colorado

By Bryan Le 05/16/12

Lawmakers stay deadlocked over standards for convicting marijuana DUIs, leaving cops to make the calls.

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How stoned is too stoned to drive? Colorado state government can't agree. A third bill there to set a legal marijuana blood limit failed yesterday, falling one vote short of passing with a deadlocked 17-17 vote. Its advocates argue that more and more people are being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, and stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show an increasing amount of drivers in fatal accidents testing positive for marijuana. The bill seeks to provide a testable and objective way to charge drugged drivers, instead of relying too heavily on officers' observations. “It's past time to get this done,” says bill sponsor Rep. Mark Waller (R). Bill opponents and marijuana activists say that blood level isn't a good gauge for marijuana impairment, and that 90% of drugged driving cases end in conviction anyway, making such a limit unnecessary. They say that the bill's low THC limit only serves to provide an easy way to slap DUI charges on drivers who aren't necessarily impaired. “I don't think it'll make our roads any safer,” says Sen. Pat Steadman (D). The bill would have passed—if it wasn't for one senator who was absent on the day of the vote. The White House Office of National Drug Policy has asked states to set drug blood limits, without specifying what those limits should be. But currently only 16 states have blood drug limits, while a dozen more follow a zero-tolerance policy on drugged drivers.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter

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