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Colorado Medical Marijuana Patients May Lose Driving Privileges

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In the third major attack on medical marijuana patient rights in Colorado
to come out of the state legislature this year, House Bill 11-1261 was
introduced on Mon., Feb. 14, 2011. This bill would declare that anyone
found driving with 5 nanogram/milliliters or more of THC in their
bloodstream would be guilty of “DUI per se” and subject to a misdemeanor
offense and the possible revocation of their driver’s license. You can read
the full bill on the state’s website:
http://www.leg.state.co.us/

The bill was introduced by Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder) and Rep. Mark
Waller (R-El Paso County), both members of the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Levy, an attorney, in order to curb an
imaginary crisis of “stoned drivers” in Colorado. Despite repeated requests
from CTI, Rep. Levy has failed to point to one case where marijuana was the
sole cause of any traffic accident.

Research shows that there is no correlation between THC blood levels and
impairment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a
study in 2004 which shows that chronic cannabis users, such as medical
marijuana patients, normally average a much higher concentration of THC in
their bloodstream than 5 ng/mL AND that this does not necessarily cause
impairment.
http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/cannabis.htm

Dr. Robert J. Meladmede, a University of Colorado biology professor and CEO
of Colorado Springs-based Cannabis Science, says the Rep. Levy’s thinking
on this is backwards. He stated that casual users will have often have
lower levels than 5 ng/mL and may actually be impaired, while frequent
users will have higher levels in their bloodstream, yet not be impaired.
Click here to read Dr. Bob’s full letter and research:
http://www.cannabistherapyinstitute.com/bills/dui/drbob.let.html

NANOGRAM LIMIT ARBITRARY, NOT OBJECTIVE
Rep. Levy states that currently there is no nanogram limit on THC and that
currently any amount of THC is enough to prove impairment. She believes
that setting a limit will make the law more objective. However, in the
absence of any problem, this will only make it easier for courts to convict
patients of impaired driving, whether they were actually impaired or not.
Instead of setting an arbitrary limit on THC in the bloodstream, more
research needs to be done on better roadside impairment tests and training,
to help determine whether people are impaired from any cause. There is no
nanogram limit for oxycontin or other drugs that may impair drivers.
Medical marijuana patients are once again treated like second-class
citizens for their choice of medicine. Rep. Levy wants to force cannabis
patients back onto their prescription medications, which are not routinely
tested for by law enforcement.

FORCED BLOOD EXTRACTION
This bill will also force anyone suspected of driving under the influence
of THC to give their blood to the government. Currently, a suspected
impaired driver has the choice of a urine test or a blood test. Since the
nanogram limits can only be tested for in the blood, patients will be
subjected to an involuntary extraction of their blood if they are ever
stopped by the police.

DMV TO ISSUE PATIENT ID CARDS
The Department of Revenue stated last year that they intended to issue
their new medical marijuana patient ID cards through the Colorado
Department of Motor Vehicles. Will patients now be asked to surrender their
driver’s licenses when they apply for a medical marijuana card? This is
another example of the state requiring you to surrender your Constitutional
rights to cannabis medicine in exchange for the “privilege” of driving.

THIRD MEDICAL MARIJUANA ATTACK BILL
This is the third bill introduced in the state legislature this year
attacking the rights of patients (HB1243, the Patient Rights Elimination
“Cleanup Bill”, HB1250, the Medical Marijuana Edible Products Ban, and
HB1261, the Medical Marijuana DUI Bill). All have been assigned to the
House Judiciary Committee. If you haven’t written them yet on these bills,
please do so now. See below.

CALL AND EMAIL HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
Sample letter to House Judiciary Committee
“Please vote no on HB1261 and do more research on the bill to set a
nanogram limit on cannabis. There is no evidence showing a link between THC
blood concentration and impairment. Other drugs that impair people, like
oxycontin, do not have nanogram limits. This bill 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. Please at least include an exemption for medical marijuan
patients.”

COPY AND PASTE EMAILS:
bob.gardner.house@state.co.us, mark.barker.house@state.co.us,
brian@briandelgrosso.com,
crisanta.duran.house@state.co.us,repkagan@gmail.com,
pete.lee.house@state.co.us, claire.levy.house@state.co.us,
rep.nikkel@gmail.com, su.ryden.house@state.co.us,
jerry.sonnenberg.house@state.co.us, mark.waller.house@state.co.us,
info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com

Please send CTI copies of any letters you send:
info@cannabistherapyinstitute.com

Contact your local Reps too:
http://www.leg.state.co.us/

House Judiciary Committee Members Phone and Email

BOB GARDNER, Chair
Colorado State Representative, District 21
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2191
E-Mail: bob.gardner.house@state.co.us

MARK BARKER, Vice Chair
Colorado State Representative, District 17
Capitol Phone: 303-866-3069
E-Mail: mark.barker.house@state.co.us

BRIAN DELGROSSO
Colorado State Representative, District 51
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2947
E-Mail: brian@briandelgrosso.com

CRISANTA DURAN
Colorado State Representative, District 5
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2925
E-Mail: crisanta.duran.house@state.co.us

DANIEL KAGAN
Colorado State Representative, District 3
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2921
E-Mail: repkagan@gmail.com

PETE LEE
Colorado State Representative, District 18
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2932
E-Mail: pete.lee.house@state.co.us

CLAIRE LEVY – SPONSOR
Minority Whip
Colorado State Representative, District 13
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2578
E-Mail: claire.levy.house@state.co.us

B.J. NIKKEL
Majority Whip
Colorado State Representative, District 49
Phone: 303-866-2907
E-mail: rep.nikkel@gmail.com

SU RYDEN
Asssistant Minority Caucus Chair
Colorado State Representative, District 36
Capitol Phone: 303-866-2942
E-mail: su.ryden.house@state.co.us

JERRY SONNENBERG
Colorado State Representative, District 65
Capitol Phone: 303-866-3706
Email: jerry.sonnenberg.house@state.co.us

MARK WALLER – SPONSOR
Assistant Majority Leader
Colorado State Representative, District 15
Capitol Phone: (303)866-5525
E-Mail: mark.waller.house@state.co.us

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