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Marijuana In Colorado Leads To Rethinking Of Laws

January 25, 2013 by  

Marijuana In Colorado Leads To Rethinking Of Laws

Since Colorado voters opted to legalize marijuana, State lawmakers have deemed it necessary to come up with a plan to navigate the murky legal waters of how to police driving while stoned.

The pressure is on for lawmakers to come up with stoned driving laws, as research published following the passage of the Colorado pot legalization initiative indicates that 13 percent of fatal crashes in the State involved pot.

While the law regarding driving under the influence of alcohol is pretty clear, officials say that proving a person is heavily under the influence of pot is a little tricky. Lawmakers say they will set blood limits for pot intoxication at 5 nanograms of THC — pot’s active ingredient — per milliliter of blood.

Critics of the measure say it will lead to drivers who police claim simply smell like pot being hauled in and given blood tests unnecessarily. Unlike alcohol, there is no breath test to test for pot, so suspects will have their blood drawn and tested.

As the State makes moves to cope with the newly legal substance, legislators and advocates in other States throughout the Nation are looking at the measures passed in Colorado and Washington to plan for legalization pushes in their States. Currently, recreational and medical marijuana-legalization options are being mulled over in New York, Illinois, New Hampshire, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Advocates expect a national push to reform marijuana laws to gain steam in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election, when young voters are expected to show up at the polls in larger numbers.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Dwight Mann

    It is a case of more bureaucracy, and who the heck needs that? Our lawmakers need to get down to some important things like the budget and Agenda 21.

    • Bob

      You would think the legislators would have more pertinent things to deal with just keep weed illegal except for medical purposes seriously it’s not just about getting votes.

  • Thomas

    What any attempt at a “one size fits all” blood test fails to recognize is that different people will respond very differently to the same blood level of THC. Over time, with frequent use a certain “tolerance” is built up. Plus, as it is fat-soluble, it will stay in the system a much longer time, which is one of the reasons it can be so effective as a pain med.

    • kenwa d’arc

      actually, there is no way to test for THC in the body. Current tests locate THC metabolites in the urine. these metabolites are daughter products that stay in the body for a month with no inebriation. the best the police can prove of drivers is if they had smoked ganja within the latest month.

      • Dan Mancuso

        Good points Thomas and Kenwa d’arc, but I’d like to know why you never hear about testing for pharmaceutical drug intoxication. Judging from the huge profits of these companies, there must be an awful lot of people stoned on parmaceuticals and wreaking havoc in automobiles, heavy equipment etc.

  • Matt McLaughlin

    The %13 stat mentioned here is shaky stuff. If %13 of accident victims had bleached hair would bleached hair blamed? The press is too gullible when drawn into voodoo science.

    • OneGuess

      Exactly right.

    • kenwa d’arc

      that 13% figure must be incorrect. driving while high on ganja is not dangerous. it should be no more plentiful than the percent of the population that uses ganja.

  • Motov

    Some people function better when high than straight.

    • Janis

      The sentiments of every stoner. Believe it or not, I have also heard drinkers state that THEY actually feel more relaxed and drive better with a buzz on. Talk about voodoo science.

      • Karolyn

        To the contrary, janis, Motov is right. I haven’t smoked pot in about 30 years, but I can say with certainty that pot heightened my awareness.

      • TML

        I agree with Janis… that is the calling-card phrase of everyone that does any kind of drug. While to some degree I’m sure they believe that it does heighten awareness, but that is false. The point of the matter is that when smoking pot you become impaired from normal cognition and motor skills the same as any drug. Even the drug methamphetamine, while claiming that it heightens one’s ability to think, actually impairs it with neurological traffic jam, ‘tweeking’ on one thing for hours, neglecting responsibilities, and losing track of time. Pot might make one ‘ponder the mysteries of the universe’ but it by no means heightens awareness in regard to cognitive thought or motor skills. No one should operate any kind of machinery under the influence of any kind of drugs.

      • kenwa d’arc

        only users should give testimony on dangers of their own drugs. you have no clue. ganja lubricates the synapses, increases creativity, and heightens awareness.

      • TML

        kenwa d’arc, I know exactly what it’s like, and it appear you’ve had too much.

      • GRusling

        Those who believe using “pot” (or alcohol) heightens their awareness while driving are delusional. It gives you a heightened SENSE of awareness, which is actually a dulling of your ability to recognize your limitations. That heightened “SENSE” is the same reaction as the guy on PCP who suddenly discovers he can FLY! It doesn’t last very long when put to the test in the real world…

    • TML

      I will say that only one time have a seen a person that would make your statement true. Only one time, One person. That person had cerebral palsy and smoking actually made them stop their uncontrollable body movements. However, I’m not sure that person should be behind the wheel in any event.

    • Bob666

      some do

  • Buster the Anatolian

    All of the arguments you have presented apply equaly to the use/missuse of alcohol with the possible exception of the intoxicant being stored in fatty tissue.

  • Vicki

    nano-grams per milliliter. Boy is that going to be fun to measure. To say nothing of how long it will remain in the system.

    And were is there any evidence that THC affects driving ability?

    The above link will likely be called the last word by liberals even though it has an agenda. Certain liberals on this site often tell us not to trust cites from sites that have an agenda. Any bets on them being consistent?

    • Karolyn

      All liberals I know favor legalization of pot.

    • Karolyn

      As well as libertarians.

      • Bob

        Weed is much better to consume than alcohol but still you shouldn’t drive, operate heavy equipment do brain surgery etc. Medical is the only legal weed that should be allowed and maybe make alcohol illegal look at what that does to people and families but it’s ok???

    • TML

      “And were is there any evidence that THC affects driving ability?”

      It’s a drug Vicki. When people get ‘high’ it impairs cognition, motor skills – reaction time.

      • kenwa d’arc

        cannabis ganja enhances cognition, motor skills, and reacton time.

      • TML

        Keep telling yourself that. There is no possible way that you are more aware, with better cognition, and motor skills when you are high on pot than you are sober. Get real, and come back when your sober.

      • rvncibeib1sgret

        You get more paranoid and over cautious. You may not notice it but others notice the glassy eyes and the stupor and negative attitude!

    • TML

      That said, it obviously doesn’t impair as badly as alcohol can impair. I think the approach the only approach similar to alcohol that could be taken is simply, ‘open container’… which is to say, pot being legal, having it in the car or being smoked – smelling it or witnessing it – are the only way that it could be enforced. It should go in the trunk when being transported.

      • RobbieGee

        I would say that there is one exception to the impairment argument. I was a rock guitarist for over 35 years and boy could I play when I was high and it wasn’t just my imagination. I was told over and over again how well I played and sang on nights when I was stoned to the bone… long as I didn’t forget my lyrics. :-) Pot really is a great musical tool not just an excuse for musicians to smoke. That’s why it has it’s roots with the old black blues players of decades ago and then spread to all kinds of musicians. Of course decades ago they tried yet again to hide their racism by saying only black blues players smoked maryjane and it made you crazy. It also is very helpful in the creative arts beyond performance, as in writing and arranging music. I would bet other sorts of artists benefit from it as well. But I digress and we are talking about driving, not musicians…..but possibly talking about musicians driving after a gig. :-) Just saying it is beneficial for something.

    • GRusling

      THC may well have no affect on one’s driving ability, but it certainly does have an effect on every person’s JUDGEMENT and ability to focus on boring details. That makes it hazardous to use when driving or working with dangerous equipment. While I seriously doubt it decreases a persons motor skills it affects their concentration, and that creates danger for everyone in the vicinity…

  • RichardS

    So: 13 percent of fatal crashes in the State involved pot… and we are attacking legal guns?

    • Bob

      Taking your guns away is about disarming us for the NWO has very little to do with anything else and all these politicians are agents for the NWO and should be charged with treason Obummer then Feinstein. We need more weed in our society and obviously more guns to fight tyranny.

      • Yankee

        I’ll bet Bob here could teach some of you some things. About time I find someone whom isn’t drunken with the political cool aid.

      • Yankee

        I’m with you all the way Bob. we only need 299,999,998 more and Washington will straiten up in a heartbeat

  • Sol of Texas

    That’s just silly. How about DWI measurements for Clonazipan, Zoloft, Paxil, Oxycontin, Vicodin, etc … ?

    If the driver is presenting erratic driving behavior and cannot pass the sobriety field test then the authorities are trying to pad local government revenue and grow department size and power.


  • Karolyn

    When I was young, I smoked pot, and in my experience, I never had a problem driving under the influence of pot. I concur with the poster who mentioned all the other drugs people are on legally, which can often get them a free pass. Also, everyone is unique. How did they come up with the 13% is what I want to know. While alcohol undeniably has adverse effects on doing anything, the same cannot be said for pot.

    • GRusling

      There are certain field tests which indicate intoxication, and they differentiate between alcohol and drugs. A little alcohol usually won’t be detectable by such tests (like touch your nose) and neither will a little drug use. Excessive use is what the Police are looking for, and a trained officer can spot the indications in a heartbeat – no breath or blood test necessary.

      The problem is in getting the officers “properly trained” because there are some who simply CAN’T learn to recognize the indicators. Most think they can, but that doesn’t make it true…

      • Yankee

        ye wise guy. How would you like to be arrested based on the officer’s judgment without any proof. Idiot!

    • Yankee

      Carolyn, I drove drunken for over fifteen years never gotten caught and never had a problem with driving even when the copps were following me. Now I don’t drink anymore since about 1990 and have a problem driving. How you like that?

      • Yankee

        You guys are really just crazy and that’s why you support corrupt laws.
        I say don’t charge me with the crime I’m going to commit. Charge me with the crime I have committed. That’s right, the drunken driving law its a here say law that punishes innocent people for the purpose of raising revenue. Like many laws on the books its nothing more than corruption at work behind the badge. “PROVE ME WRONG!”

      • Yankee

        I drove drunken for a long time, I never hurtted anyone because of it. Tell me, what crime have I committed?

  • JimH

    Puts a whole new meaning to “Rocky Mountain High”.

    • RobbieGee

      good one!

      • Yankee

        Mine was a realy brand new meaning on rocky mountain high!

  • Bob666

    legalize it, tax the crap out of it and use it to pay off the debt and deal with drugs that are really dangerious.

  • Henry

    No driving or job that impaired judgement or responses that risk others, should be allowed for anyone who insists on being impaired.

  • Yankee

    i would like like to know what kind of stuff you guys been smoking. I smoked that Hawaiian stuff and after that i almost hit a guard rail trying to pull into a Mc Donalds that wan’t there, then i was going to pump gas in a gas station that didn’t exist and after that I thought I had enough so I decided to go home only instead of going home I was getting further and further away and it took me over two hrs to go home. How would you like a bomb like that?

  • Yankee

    A wise man once said. ” when the law gets stupid, the innocent becomes a criminal!
    There is a lot of that going on now-a-days.

  • Yankee

    Where there is no wisdom, the people parish!

  • Captain Obvious

    I have no need for Marijuana. It is a waste of time, resources and the mind Pot dulls the senses, decreases motivation and encourages indolence.

    There is nothing to be gained by it’s use outside of medical applications.

  • Dale Patterson

    In the late 80′s/early 90′s a company did come up with a marijuana breath test but couldn’t sell it to Uncle Sam, go figure.


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