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Stoned-Driving Standard Fails Again in Colorado

By SEO Admin on May 06, 2013

Claims Journal-April 24, 2013-Kristen Wyatt-According to the article amarijuana blood limit for drivers was rejected Monday for a fourth time in the Colorado Senate, where bipartisan skepticism on the pot analogy to blood-alcohol limits helped sink the measure even in a weaker form.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 to reject the blood standard after a long hearing that has become something of an annual tradition in the Senate: Reviewing the scientific basis for using marijuana content in blood to determine whether a driver is stoned

They worried that recreational pot use will spike because of last years vote to defy federal drug law and declare marijuana OK in small amounts for people over 21. Washington state also voted to legalize pot last year, but voters there included a 5 nanogram driving limit for impairment cases.

Members of law enforcement tried unsuccessfully Monday to persuade senators that Colorados pot vote makes a blood driving limit necessary here, too. Driving while impaired is currently illegal, though cases now rely heavily on officer observation of a drivers behavior, such as drifting out of lane.

Lawmakers who voted against the bill pointed Monday to Colorados recent vote, too. They wondered whether increased marijuana use could prompt overzealous blood sampling in impaired-driving cases.

Another element cited by senators who rejected the bill was a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court last week that said police in most cases must get a warrant before taking a blood sample as evidence, if the driver doesnt consent to having blood taken.

The sponsor of the Colorado bill insisted that police here would be able to follow the blood ruling while still enforcing a 5 nanogram marijuana limit. But other lawmakers were skeptical.

The bills failure underscored the difficulty policymakers nationwide have had addressing drugged driving.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana stays in the blood long after the high wears off, and there is no quick test to determine someones level of impairment. The White House has asked states to set a blood-level standard upon which to base drugged-driving convictions but has not said what that

But senators again declined to pursue the blood standard, citing scientific uncertainty and a current drugged driving conviction rate that hovers around 90 percent.

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