Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reporter's Blood Helps Gut "THC DUI" Bill in Colorado

By David Downs
Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 10:14 AM

A Denver Westword medical marijuana reviewer played a role in the apparent overhaul of Colorado's first-ever law to limit stoned driving when he used his own blood to demonstrate the fallacy of the proposed law's limits.

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to gut HB 11-1261, the “THC DUI” bill. The Committee decided the issue needed more study, amending the bill to remove all the language about a THC DUI limit.

The proposed study still needs several more final approvals, but Kathleen Chippi at the Cannabis Therapy Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado said in an e-mail Tuesday that patient advocates had “scored a victory." Chippi also saluted the activist journalism efforts of Westword pot reviewer William Breathes, whose blood became proof positive on the committee floor Monday.

Breathes abstained from pot for sixteen hours, confirmed his sobriety with a medical doctor, and took a blood test. On April 18, Breathes wrote that his sober blood test results showed nearly three times more THC in his system than the proposed DUI limit. Chippie believes the story definitely had an effect on the committee. It backed up several federal studies showing the proposed limit made no sense.

Lawyers have said sober medical marijuana patients, some of whom have HIV, and cancer, could be sent to jail under the HB 1261 — which is now just a study, really.

Republican sponsor Sen. Steve King of Mesa County wasn't happy about the bill's reversal of fortune . He told the Associated Press Monday, “It's a study at the risk of lives. ... Innocent people will die.”

According to NHTSA, 33,808 people died on America's roads last year. About 10,839 of those who died had a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. NHTSA doesn't track THC in road fatalities. It's expensive and they're rare.

Note: Legalization Nation fully supports a THC DUI limit law — and all laws, really — that are based on sound science. Have a safe 4/20, ya'll.

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