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    Medical Marijuana DUI Debate Still At An Impasse 

What should the legal limit be for driving while under the influence of medical marijuana in Colorado? Many advocates against the drug say there should be a zero tolerance policy. However, advocates for the use of medical marijuana think that limits such as 5 nanograms should be considered more than fair. When the discussion arises, as it commonly does among state officials, some believe that driving under the influence of medical marijuana should be treated no differently than someone driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and drivers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Other officials who side with medical marijuana advocates believe that such limits should be set for those who require the drug for medical reasons and that some leeway should be given under those circumstances. Either way, it is clear that no common ground is being reached on the issue. Other states such as California have a legal THC limit of 2 nanograms, whereas other states tend to have a zero tolerance policy. The question then follows as to why lawmakers in Colorado are shooting for such a high limit as 5 nanograms? There seems to be no solid answer. Colorado, however, has one of the combination while operating a moving vehicle. And while a nationwide census of fatal traffic accidents posted a decline in deadly crashes over the recent years, the percentage of mortally wounded drivers who later tested positive for drugs went up 18% between 2005 and 2011. The biggest problem officials seem to be having when testing someone for marijuana is that there is no clear way to determine the level of impairment. Both urine and blood tests can show whether someone has marijuana in their system, but marijuana can stay in the system for weeks after use, so even those who have not used the drug recently can still test positive for the drug, making those two tests less than accurate to determine impairment levels. While doctors at the National Institute on Drug Abuse are working steadily on developing a quick saliva test that can be used on the roadside as easily as a breathalyzer, the actual product is still several years from actual marketable use. As the debate on driving under the influence of medical marijuana rages on, some activists are strongly protesting that limiting medical marijuana use to drivers severely restricts the ability to get around and function normally for some users such as those with MS who are using the drug to control tremors. Meanwhile, the most that officials can do is wait for a better and more accurate test.

 

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