Driving while stoned bill gets initial OK from House

Politics

House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, asks lawmakers to support his measure to set a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana.

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DENVER -- Democrats and Republicans joined together in approving a proposal to limit the amount of marijuana that can be in a driver's system when they get behind the wheel.

For a third straight year, a DUID -- "Driving Under the Influence of Drugs" -- bill is set to pass the full House on a unanimous vote.

But this year's legislation, House Bill 1114, looks like it'll actually be signed into law, just as the state is grappling with how to implement Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in the state after being approved by voters last November.

Unlike Washington, which also legalized marijuana last year, Colorado has yet to set a pot driving limit to go along with legalization.

Under H.B. 1114, drivers would be considered too high if their blood contains more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Unlike past versions of the bill, that limit is no longer a "per se" limit but a presumptive limit. As a result, people accused of driving stoned would be able to argue they were sober despite higher blood levels.

"That's a small but significant change," said House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, the bill's sponsor.

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