Why It's Crazy To Try To Set DUI Limits For Marijuana

December 19, 2013

Colorado NORML Board Members, Lenny Frieling, Rachel Gillette, Sean McAllister and Teri Robnett were quoted in an article by Business Insider.

Come New Year's Day, Colorado's pot shops will start selling legal, recreational weed, but there's still a marijuana law that's bugging pot advocates — the state's new marijuana DUI law.

Colorado passed a law last spring that presumes you're too high to drive if you have 5 nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood, even though many experts say there is insufficient evidence to tie that level of THC to impaired driving.

"We don't have a consensus as to what levels of THC are consistently correlated with behavioral impairment," Paul Armentano, deputy director for the pot advocacy group NORML, told me. But, he added, "Marijuana policy has never been driven by science in this country."

It's never been legal to drive while you're impaired by any drug in Colorado, but this is the first time there's a presumption that a certain level of THC in your blood means you're high. Since the controversial new limits passed, Denver criminal defense attorney Sean McAllister told me he's seen an uptick in marijuana-related driving arrests.

Medical pot users also fear getting stopped now since they may have THC levels above the legal limit but don't feel too high to drive. Teri Robnett — a patient advocate who also has a pot prescription for her Fibromyalgia — told me she's often over the THC limit because the medical marijuana she takes metabolizes slowly.

"I can pretty much assume that I will always be above five nanograms in my blood," she said, "but I have no impairment."

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