Tuesday, May 15, 2012

'D-U-High' bill dies in Colorado Senate

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 3:29 PM

  • Flickr/hyku

In the end, it all came down to the presence, or lack thereof, of one supporter.

Sen. Nancy Spence missed the vote due to a family engagement, so the bill to impose a limit on the amount of THC that could exist in a driver's blood died 17-17 in a special session of the Legislature. It was the third attempt, including this and last year's versions, to enact the 5-nanograms-per-milliliter-of-blood limit.

"Our main concern with the 5 nanogram per se DUID bill is that it would unnecessarily criminalize the innocent," reads an e-mailed statement from Medical Marijuana Industry Group executive director Michael Elliott. "Colorado’s current DUID law, which bans driving while impaired to the slightest degree, has been successful and fair. We support Colorado’s current law, which has a 90% conviction rate and has led to a 19% reduction in traffic fatalities over the last four years.

"We will continue partnering with state agencies, such as the Colorado Department of Transportation, to build awareness about the dangers of drugged driving, and to help make our roads safer."

The bill had previously cleared the House and looked all set for to head for the governor's desk, reports the Denver Post's John Ingold.

The result was surprising for a bill that, again, appeared headed for passage before being tripped up late. Earlier in the day, the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee passed the bill 4-1 this afternoon. That came after the bill received its final approval in the House this morning.

That meant the bill needed to pass only two votes — one today and one tomorrow — by the full Senate to head to the governor's desk. Gov. John Hickenlooper has said he supports the bill.

In one reaction, Colorado Public Radio reporter Megan Verlee tweeted that civil unions took up more of the public's interest, "but I think no bill this yr had a stranger life, near-death, ressurection [sic] and death than Pot DUI."

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