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Bill establishes DUI framework for marijuana impaired driving

On Tuesday, the Colorado Senate passed House Bill 1325 by a vote of 24-11, meaning that Governor John Hickenlooper, who will next have the opportunity to sign the bill into law. HB 1325 sets THC blood limits for motorists in Colorado, where recreational use of marijuana was legalized last fall.

Under the bill, drivers found to have 5 nanograms of THC or more in their blood could be ticketed similarly to a person found to be too drunk to drive. In other words, the bill provides a marijuana framework for the state to keep those who are too high from putting other drivers at risk. The result of the bill is that those who are found to have had 5 nanograms or more of marijuana in their blood are much more likely to be convicted of DUI.  

The bill was just introduced last week, and has quickly made its way through Congress. In previous years, when the issue of marijuana DUI has come up for proposal, opponents said that the 5 nanogram standard is too low for frequent marijuana smokers, especially for those who use it medicinally. HB 1325 provides a way out of this situation by allowing drivers to rebut the charge that they are too impaired to drive.

The law obviously deals only with the criminal implications of impaired driving, but there are also potential civil implications. Impaired driving is a major cause of car accidents, and those who suffer injuries due to the negligence of another driver may be able to seek relief in a personal injury suit.

Source: Huffington Post, “Marijuana DUI Bill Passes In Colorado Senate, Appears Poised To Become Law,” Matt Femer, May 7, 2013. 

Source: Source: Huffington Post, “Marijuana DUI Bill Passes In Colorado Senate, Appears Poised To Become Law,” Matt Femer, May 7, 2013. 

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