Marijuana lobby aims for relaxed laws on drug testing, public use

3:30 PM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
(Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)
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DENVER - Pro-marijuana activists will try to relax drug-testing standards for state employees and seek more lenient rules governing public use of the drug in Colorado's next legislative session.

That's according to a list of legislative priorities from the Colorado chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a pro-pot advocacy group.

Perhaps the most interesting policy goal is one aimed at sparking a wider conversation about the issue of employee drug testing.

NORML would like to do away with urine tests for marijuana for employees and contractors working for the state.

Most employers with drug-testing policies use urine tests, which can detect marijuana use that occurred days or weeks earlier but don't measure current impairment.

"Obviously, we're not fans of drug testing," said Sean McAllister, who represents NORML. "It doesn't measure whether somebody is high on the job."

McAllister said he doesn't advocate having the state tell private employers to change their policies. In fact, Amendment 64 specifically allowed drug-testing practices to continue despite the legalization of marijuana.

Blood tests can be used to measure THC (marijuana's active drug) in the bloodstream and saliva tests are being developed to do the same but are not yet in widespread use.

The group also put several objectives on its list aimed at relaxing rules dictating the manner in which pot can be used.

NORML advocates a state standard along the lines of what Denver's city council is considering, which would allow use of pot on private property, even if it can be seen from public sidewalks and streets.

In a related goal, the group wants to explicitly allow for the operation of marijuana social clubs, to give people a place outside the home to legally use the drug.

NORML also lists the far-flung goal of repealing the DUI standard for pot that lawmakers passed last year, an oversight board to periodically review the tax rate on pot, and several tweaks to existing criminal laws on pot.

At this point, the group isn't sure how many of its goals will be even introduced as bills, let alone passed by the general assembly.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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