Possible Changes To DUI Law Could Unfairly Put Colorado Cannabis Patients In Jail


By Ann Toney


When the Colorado legislature convenes in January, it will again address a law limiting the amount of THC nanograms (ng) motorists can have in their system. If you have a Colorado Registry (red) Card and medicate, this could harm you quite a bit.

There are two ways this can affect you if you drive in Colorado. If you are charged with Driving under the Influence of Drugs, you have two cases against you. The criminal case is handled in a criminal court room with a judge and you could be put in jail. The civil case is handled at the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and you could lose your driving privileges or driver’s license.

Last year, the legislature looked at nanogram levels between 2ng and 8ng and the legislators could not decide so they were not able to pass a per se limit for Colorado. This year, they will be more prepared to fight the onslaught of public outcry against setting a nanogram level of THC at which you can be charged with a crime. The crime would be Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Per Se which means that if a specific level of THC showed up in your blood analysis then you would be presumed to be driving under the influence and you could automatically lose your driving privileges based on your nanogram level and have no real defense. This would be done in the civil case through DMV.

The other way a nanogram level will hurt drivers is once there is a set THC level passed by the legislature, then, you are still presumed to be Driving under the Influence of Drugs or Driving While Impaired by Drugs in the criminal case and the nanogram level will be used as evidence to convict you.

Patients who medicate with cannabis are considered “chronic” users in the research literature and have an increased tolerance level for THC than recreational users. Patients regularly register higher THC levels than other users so while the level might appear elevated, the driver may not be impaired or under the influence but with a Per Se reading, you will be treated as if you are guilty.

Ann Toney, P.C. is a Denver-based law firm that focuses on medical marijuana business law and marijuana defense; and defending people charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI/DUID). Ann Toney can be contacted via phone or web at (303) 399-5556 and www.medicalcannabislaw.com.

Article from Culture Magazine and republished with special permission