by Mark Miller
A restrictive Colorado DUI bill that would have made it easier to convict drivers who used marijuana (but were not necessarily stoned when arrested) died in the state House of Representatives in Denver on Tuesday evening with an indirect assist from a legislative impasse over the controversial gay marriage issue.
Senate Bill 117 would have made it a misdemeanor with a possible jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $500 for anyone caught with five or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, an unreasonably low amount that would have assured the unjust conviction of completely sober drivers.
SB 117 had passed the State Senate and appeared to be headed for victory in the House when, in what the Denver Post described as a “dramatic game of political chicken,” House Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) called a impromptu recess. This prevented a final vote on a bill that would have legalized same sex civil unions. However, it also meant SB 117 was dead in the water, along with thirty other bills.
SB 117 sponsor Steve King (R-Grand Junction) told the Post he was “disappointed” with the abrupt demise of his bill, but that he plans to re-introduce it in 2013 if the medical marijuana community doesn’t more effectively police itself when it comes to stoned driving.
The Medical Marijuana Industry Group, lobbyists in opposition to SB 117, released a statement declaring that Colorado’s current laws are sufficient in preventing true drugged driving.