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News (Media Awareness Project) - US CO: OPED: No: Current State Law and Public Awareness Are
Title:US CO: OPED: No: Current State Law and Public Awareness Are
Published On:2012-01-30
Source:Denver Post (CO)
Fetched On:2012-01-31 06:02:41

Health and safety are two top priorities for the Medical Marijuana
Industry Group. MMIG strongly supports Colorado's current law which
makes it a crime to drive while being impaired "to the slightest
degree." The current law has an extremely successful 90 percent
conviction rate.

During the 2011 legislative session, the Colorado Commission on
Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) endorsed a 5 nanogram/ml "per
se" limit for drivers. After that bill was defeated, the Drug Policy
Task Force (part of the CCJJ) created a workgroup to revisit the
issue and study ways to improve public safety.

I was privileged to be one of eight voting member of this workgroup;
other members included law enforcement representatives, a district
attorney and a drug counselor. Last summer, the workgroup met about
10 times, and interviewed the leading national and international
experts on the issue. In the end, the workgroup unanimously agreed
that there needed to be 1) a strong public education campaign
highlighting the dangers of drugged driving; 2) increased data
collection; 3) more drug recognition experts trained in identifying
drugged drivers; and 4) more research. The CCJJ did not renew its
attempt to pursue a 5 nanogram bill this year. As a workgroup member,
I saw a near consensus of research demonstrating that drivers with 5
nanograms of THC in their blood are often unimpaired. This is in part
because unlike alcohol, THC remains in the blood long after
impairment has dissipated.

While MMIG wants to protect our roadways from impaired drivers, we
also want to ensure that unimpaired drivers are not wrongly
convicted. For these reasons, it's surprising that the recently
killed DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) bill is being
reincarnated, especially given the divergent policy recommendations
resulting from hundreds of hours of work.

In MMIG's effort to promote public safety and education, we joined
forces with the Colorado Department of Transportation to promote the
Heat Is On campaign. We will continue partnering with government
entities and other organizations to promote public safety, as well as
raising the bar in terms of exceptional industry standards.
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