Levy defends marijuana DUI bill




Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, says she has received loads of e-mail about her proposed bill to create a statutory limit for driving under the influence of marijuana.


Similar to the 0.8 percent blood-alcohol content used to charge drunk drivers, the limit would be based on cannabis content, and those found to have more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of whole blood could be charged with a DUI.

Levy says the feedback she has received on the bill has been pretty evenly split, but she wants her detractors to know she supports the decriminalization of marijuana. She feels society should be more tolerant of the drug, and she even acknowledges using marijuana in the past. The intent of the bill, she says, is to keep roads safe and to clear up what is now a gray area in law enforcement, as more and more people use pot under the state’s medical marijuana laws and drive under its influence.

Currently, she says, a driver can be charged with a drug-related DUI — whether it’s pot or Percocet — based on factors like behavior, a roadside sobriety test and traces of drugs found in a blood sample. But there is no state law on what trace of THC is too high, leaving it up to the discretion of law enforcement.

Levy says she wants to make it clear what that limit is, and she is convinced that 5 nanograms is not a threshold that is too low. She has heard concerns from regular marijuana users who claim their high tolerance may make them easy targets under the proposed law. But she says marijuana doesn’t stay in your system for days; after ingested, it spikes, but 90 percent of it is gone from the bloodstream within about three hours, according to Levy.

She says the bill would require law enforcement to draw blood within two hours if they suspect that someone is driving under the influence of marijuana.