Senator tries stoned-driving bill again

Sen. Steve King will be re-introducing his measure to create a drug-blood threshold for driving while stoned, when lawmakers gather again in Denver next January, and he’ll have the backing of the Colorado Legislature’s Transportation Legislation Review Committee when he does.

It will mark the fourth time the Grand Junction Republican has tried to get the Legislature to approve a measure to set a marijuana blood-level limit for drivers.

Earlier this year, King managed to get the measure through the Colorado Senate, only to see it die at the end of the session in the House when GOP leaders there sacrificed it in order to kill a controversial bill granting civil unions to same-sex couples.

The bill was revived in a three-day special session in May, but died on a tie 17-17 vote. That happened because one GOP senator who favored the idea during the regular session didn’t attend the special session.

The proposal was designed to set a level of 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrcannabinol, or THC, per milliliter in whole blood.

During the session, opponents argued that the science behind measuring THC in the blood doesn’t necessarily mean someone is too impaired to drive.

Opponents said the state already has a DUI-like law that makes it illegal to drive under the influence of a controlled substance.

They also said many medical marijuana patients routinely have that high a level, but are not physically impaired.

Still, King says the number of incidents of being too stoned to drive has increased dramatically nationwide, including accidents that have resulted in fatalities, and such a measure is needed to save lives.


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