Colorado House re-resurrects pot DUI limits

7:43 PM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER-If killing a bill once was a strong message from the state Senate, the Colorado House of Representatives have shot back with a stronger one. They've brought the bill back from the dead-twice.

House members, along with Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) want to enact a limit on the amount of THC that can legally be in a driver's blood.

HB 1114 was shot down by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month. The pot DUI language was then amended on to HB 1317, a bigger marijuana bill.

House Minority Leader Mark Waller says he was asked by the Speaker to run the idea again as a late bill, over concerns that the Senate may vote down HB 1317. That would leave Colorado without a regulatory structure for the drug.

So the late bill was quickly introduced in the House and passed through committee Thursday as HB 1325 which Waller described as "exactly the same" as HB 1114.

Rep. Joseph Salazar (D-Thornton) chided supporters on the committee.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result," Salazar said.

Assuming the bill passes the House, it would be up to Senate President John Morse to decide whether to ensure its survival by sending it to a different committee.

Morse, who supports the DUI limit for marijuana, would not tell 9NEWS whether he plans to do so.

The proposal would allow juries to conclude that a driver is impaired if their blood test results are above the limit of 5 nanograms of delta-9 THC (the psychoactive drug in marijuana.)

The language of the bill would give defendants the ability to argue that they were not impaired despite a positive test, a detail meant to protect chronic users like medical marijuana patients, who may not be impaired above the limit.

Marijuana advocates want an exemption from the limit for card-carrying medical marijuana patients, but have not found enough support to get the idea into the bill.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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