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Colorado Marijuana Legislation Update

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Colorado Legislative Update (03/23/11)

We’ve got good news and bad news.

Good News: Your grassroots lobbying effort is having an effect!!!
Your emails, and especially phone calls, are working!

Bad News: HB1261 passed the full House today.

Colorado has seen three bills introduced this year into the state
legislature that will directly attack patient rights. As a result of your
efforts sending emails and connecting with your state Representatives, we
are making progress!

The House Judiciary Committee voted *not* to ban edibles at their hearing
on Tuesday, March 15. Rep. Acree told CTI after the hearing that she had
learned a lot from patients about the importance of edible cannabis
therapy, and that she decided it wouldn’t be fair to the patients to outlaw
edibles.

With regards to HB1261, the THC/DUI bill, Rep. Claire Levy indicated this
morning that she might actually vote against her own bill. Levy was quoted
in Westword this morning, “There was enough concern in the medical
marijuana community about the impact of a per se limit, and enough
uncertainty in the research about the causal relationship between marijuana
and accidents, that I thought we should err on the side of caution in this
very new kind of legislation.”

Read the Westword article about Rep. Levy:
http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2011/03/medical_marijuana_thc_driving_limits_bill.php

Unfortunately, HB1261 passed Colorado House of Representatives by a vote of
51 to 14 on Wed., March 23. Voting against the measure were 7 Democrats and
7 Republicans (22% of the House): Balmer (R), Becker (R), Court (D), Duran
(D), Kagan (D), Looper (R), McKinley (R), Nikkel (R), Pace (D), Priolla
(R), Rieseberg (D), Solano (D) , Sonnenberg (R), Wilson (D)

In the end, Rep. Levy voted in favor of HB1261.

HB1261 NEXT STEP

HB1261 (THC/DUI) will now go to a Senate Committee (to be assigned) for its
First Reading. If it passes the Committee, then it is on to the Full Senate
for a Second and Third Reading.

CALL AND EMAIL YOUR SENATORS
Keep your phone calls and emails coming. Now it’s time to educate the
Senate about the impact this bill will have on patients.
1) Be respectful.
2) Back up your facts with research.
3) Be honest about how this may affect you as a patient.

Talking Points
– HB1261 is unfair to medical marijuana patients and will force patients
back on prescription medications that do not have nanogram levels and are
not routinely tested for by the police.
– HB1261 will require a “forced blood draw”, forcing anyone suspected of
driving under the influence of THC to submit to a blood draw forced by the
state. Currently, alcohol levels can be tested through urine, breath or
blood. But under the THC/DUI bill, the nanogram count can only come from a
forced blood draw.
– The sponsor of HB1261, Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder) admits that she
cannot point to one single accident caused solely by marijuana and that the
research on setting a nanogram limit as evidence of impairment is “all over
the place.”
– Contrary to other reports, the “per se” part of the bill has *not* been
removed. This means that a person charged with THC/DUI can still introduce
evidence that their blood level was below the “per se” number, but cannot
introduce evidence that, in spite of the number, they were not impaired.
Ask your Representative to remove the “per se” standard from the bill and
allow patients to present behavioral evidence that they were not impaired.
– Ask your Representative to include an exemption for medical marijuana
patients.

SENATE CONTACT INFO.
Click here for spreadsheets and email lists:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/advocacy/contact.colorado.state.legislature.html

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