Colorado House Committee Pass Marijuana Driving Limits

Driving High Cheech Chong

The Colorado State House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that sets a scientific limit for what it means to be too stoned to drive today with a 9-4 vote.

Although the House Committee approved it, the bill must still go before and receive the approval of the full House on a second reading by the end of the day or the bill will stop for lack of time in the session, which the deadline is tomorrow.

If fully approved by the House today, the bill would need a third-reading approval in the House tomorrow. Bills cannot receive second-reading and third-reading OKs on the same day. I know its sound like a lot of work and approvals, but that’s the government for you.

The proposal makes it illegal to drive with more than a certain amount of THC in your system. THC, if you don’t know, is the active chemical in marijuana. The limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood that the bill proposes would be similar to the .08 blood-alcohol standard for drunk driving.

Supporters say the bill is scientifically sound and is needed to send a message that driving stoned is not alright. Opposers say the limit is too low and will result in near-certain convictions of sober drivers.

Early in today’s hearing, at which lawmakers also intend to take up a proposal to legalize civil unions, it appeared the bill might be caught up in a filibuster aimed at the later bill. Republican lawmakers opposed to civil unions repeatedly asked questions about earlier bills that, because of legislative rules, have no hope of becoming law. The pace then quickened, however, and it took about 20 minutes for the bill to clear the committee.

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