DENVER — A bill to set a legal limit for driving after smoking pot passed its first hurdle Tuesday night at the Colorado state house.
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the bill which sets a standard of five nanograms of THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes people “high.”
Under the bill, any driver caught with five nanograms of THC in their blood would be considered driving under the influence of marijuana, just as they are considered driving drunk if their blood alcohol level is at least .08.
However, a defendant will be allowed to make the case that he was not impaired by a THC level of five because habitual pot users may build up a tolerance to the effects of THC. They may not be impaired at that level.
“This is a public safety issue,” said Republican Mark Waller, a bill co-sponsor. “It is never ok to get behind the wheel and put citizens’ lives at risk. This bill will make people think twice about doing that.”
“This is about public safety,” said Democrat Rep. Rhonda Fields, who also sponsored the bill. “The voters have told us with Amendment 64 that we have to come up with regulations to govern recreational marijuana use, but we certainly don’t want our streets full of stoned drivers endangering law-abiding citizens.”
The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.