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CannaBiz: House Bill 1261 needs research 

Bill bulled over

Few things occupied the attention of MMJ patients like the coming of House Bill 1261, the attempt to set a limit of five nanograms of THC per milliliter in a driver's blood. Colorado Springs Rep. Mark Waller, the bill's co-sponsor, argued that a limit was needed, and that five nanograms was recommended by law enforcement. Advocates argued the number was not only unscientific, but low enough that most any regularly partaking patient would qualify.

To prove this, Westword pot critic William Breathes had his blood tested 15 hours after smoking. The result? A THC count of 13.5 nanograms, nearly triple the proposed limit.

"I think the results show exactly what patients have been trying to tell our representatives all along," the 30-year-old Denver resident (who writes under a pseudonym) says in an e-mail. "There needs to be more research into THC impairment before we start throwing out arbitrary limits as law."

Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 to amend 1261 to include further research — essentially gutting the limit provision — after receiving a 25-page research paper supplied by MMJ advocates that included the critic's blood test. Though the bill still has to travel through another committee before reaching the full Senate, and could be amended back to its original state, it's an encouraging victory for patients.

"Frankly, it's aggravating that it had to come down to a reporter doing this on their own to get any real results before our lawmakers," Breathes writes. "You would think they would commission such scientific studies before jumping into creating public policy on it.

"I'm just glad people are paying attention."

Keef crumbs

• Hit Sen. Irene Aguilar's MMJ forum at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 23 at the University of Denver (Sturm College of Law, 2255 E. Evans Ave., Room 162, aguilarfor32.com/archives/605). Speakers include attorney Rob Corry, Dr. Paul Bregman and more.

• The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law (NORML) is hosting its annual conference from April 21 through 23 at the Grand Hyatt Denver (1750 Welton St., norml.org). Montel Williams, Ziggy Marley and others are scheduled to appear.

• In attempting to regulate that state's MMJ industry, Montana lawmakers are wrangling two very different bills into one piece of cohesive legislation, the Associated Press reports. This, after the governor vetoed a separate Republican-driven bill attempting to kill the industry. The House version would restrict each caregiver to a single patient — and require that the MMJ be free — while the Senate bill would tighten physician regulations and turn dispensaries into small nonprofit grow operations.

  • Also: local conferences and forums and the state of MMJ in Montana.

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