Why Do You Think They Call Them Highways?

By Dirk Hanson 03/30/11
Colorado prepares to test THC levels of drivers.
Photo via owidefenselaw

In a bid to target drivers traveling in a marijuana haze, Colorado lawmakers are debating a statewide law that will enable police to apprehend travelers for the crime of driving too slowly. Similar measures have recently been adopted by Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, which allow cops to test meandering motorists for THC, the primary component of marijuana. Agitating against the bill, the activist group NORML points out that unlike alcohol, trace levels of THC remain in the body long after people smoke their last joint. But while an attorney at Denver’s Cannabis Law Center charges that the U.S. is “entering a new phase of medical profiling,” the executive director of the County Sheriffs of Colorado supports the state’s plans for a 5 nanogram THC limit. “I think it’s fair to tell them the rules to be played by,” he told the Aspen Times. It’s also fair to point out that there is no generally agreed-upon method for roadside THC testing. Pennsylvania also has a 5 nanogram threshold, while Nevada and Ohio settled on 2 nanograms. We think tickets for driving baked will be a moneymaker for cash-strapped states. And there are going to be some chronic offenders.

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]