Colorado made international history by being the first municipality to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana. It is also making headlines for the legislature’s choice to set a legal inference on the amount of THC someone can have in his or her bloodstream. This inference, currently set at 5 nanograms, has raised some concern for its lack of foundation in science or experience.
Laws on Driving While High Are Fuzzy
Unlike the .08 BAC limit for drunk driving, the 5 nanogram inference for driving under the influence of marijuana is not founded on any research or years of studies. DUI defense lawyer Jay Tiftickjian takes issue with this inference for these reasons:
- There is no science behind the limit. Instead, it seems as if the legislature grabbed a number out of thin air.
- No one knows how much marijuana it takes to reach that 5 nanogram level.
- No one can say whether 5 nanograms of THC is equivalent to .08 BAC level in terms of impairment.
- THC lasts longer in a person’s bloodstream than alcohol does, even though the side effects have long worn off.
This last bullet point is perhaps the most troublesome. Attorney Tiftickjian says, “We have had clients who have not had marijuana that day and blood tests are coming back at 5 nanograms.” The inference, however, would give juries the ability to convict these individuals of drugged driving anyway.
The haze left behind by the 5 nanogram inference is enough to cause mass public confusion and increase the number of DUI-D trials throughout Colorado. Jay Tiftickjian states that he wouldn’t be surprised if the legislature reassesses this limit in the future, once more information becomes available.
Several Other Marijuana-Related Laws Are Crystal Clear
Aside from the 5 nanogram limit, Colorado has set in place several straightforward laws and regulations regarding the legal selling, using and growing of marijuana. Here are a handful of those laws and related pieces of information you must know before you decide to eat or smoke recreational marijuana in this state:
- It is illegal to use pot “openly and publicly”
- You cannot possess more than one ounce at a time
- You cannot take the drug outside of the state
- You cannot use or eat marijuana and then drive
- It is illegal to use the drug if you are under 21 years of age
- An employer can legally fire you for failing a drug test
Stay Off the State’s Radar by Following These Tips
Individuals who wish to partake in the legal use of recreational marijuana would be well advised to stick within the basic confines of the law as stated above. For an even greater chance of avoiding any encounters with Colorado law enforcement, we also encourage individuals to follow these simple tips:
- Do not use or ingest marijuana and then drive
- Do not get into a car with anyone who has been using marijuana
- Do not walk around with more than one ounce of marijuana on your person
- Do not use or ingest marijuana in public spaces
Seek the Marijuana DUI Defense You Need at Tiftickjian Law Firm
If you happen to come across law enforcement and walk away with a ticket or find yourself in jail on DUI-D charges, immediately call your attorney. We would encourage you to find that attorney here at our Denver law firm. We are skilled DUI defense attorneys, and we have literally written the books on Colorado DUI law. Learn more by calling us at 303-384-5280 or by requesting a consultation via our online form.