Studies indicate impairment even at low levels

It is not surprising to see the outrage from the Colorado Pot Cartel and its many customers upon hearing the news that I am again running legislation addressing driving under the influence of drugs per se in our state. What is surprising is the naiveté of the industry thinking that the defeat of my legislation last session would somehow silence the issue. Studies on the effects of THC indicate that if a driver has greater than 1 nanogram/ml, they are impaired. In fact, if a driver has between 2 and 5 nanograms/ml in their system, even if they are a chronic user, they are six to seven times more likely to crash than a sober driver. While chronic users can compensate for some effects, they can never fully compensate for all effects of THC while driving. Marijuana users driving a motor vehicle on the streets and highways of Colorado while under the influence of THC are a clear and present danger to the innocent traveling public. The number of marijuana-impaired drivers who caused fatal crashes more than doubled from 2.9 percent to 7 percent between 2006 and 2010. In 53 percent of fatal crashes caused by an impaired driver, the driver tested positive for cannabis. Steven Ryan was convicted of DUI vehicular homicide for the 2010 deaths of a mother and her 2-week-old child in Aurora. Ryan had 4 nanograms of THC and no other substances in his system. The smoke and mirrors used by the Colorado Pot Cartel to put citizens at risk for another year in 2011 will not stand the focus of the legislature in 2012. There are 14 states that have some form of a per se DUI law for marijuana. Thirteen of those states have a zero-tolerance law. Two of the 14 only have a zero-tolerance law for people under 21. And two of the 14 states have a per se limit of 2 nanograms of THC in whole blood (not plasma). I predict that with the realization of the lives at risk from this true public safety threat, the Colorado Senate will pass this legislation unanimously. 01/30/2012

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