Two DUII Bills Pass Out of Committee
By William Stash Jones
Oregon Cannabis Connection
Tom Angell, through his Marijuana Moment newsletter, brought our attention to a couple of bills that passed out of committee in California that would make it an infraction to have a 5 ng/ml blood level for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol to drive a vehicle, and also a zero tolerance of persons under 21. The bills (Senate Bill 65 and Senate Bill 698) passed out of the Committee on Public Safety without a single no vote (2 abstained on one of the bills). The bill now moves to the Committee on Appropriations.
The DUII bills were introduced by California’s Senator Hill, and are supported by all the usual suspects in the law enforcement industry, which is large in California. 20 or 30 sheriff, police and district attorney associations endorsed the bills. SB 65 was heavily amended and the requirement for drug treatment was pulled from the bill before passing. No drug treatment was included in SB 698, either, which covers those under 21 years of age who are found with any detectable THC in their system.
In the support of the bills the author explains, “There’s no standard for marijuana impairment like the .08 blood alcohol content threshold used for drunk driving because technology for a roadside test of marijuana use is still being developed…SB 65 would make it an infraction for anyone to smoke or consume marijuana in any form while driving a vehicle, consistent with the law on drinking while operating a vehicle.”
The California Police Chiefs Association stated, in support of the 5ng/ml limit, “The current lack of tools for law enforcement to both identify and measure marijuana-impaired driving, coupled with the lack of statute addressing drugged driving, sends the message to the public that drugged driving is not as serious of an issue as drunk driving.”
The ACLU, who opposes the use of a the impairment blood test, explains in opposition, “we do not believe that the roadside chemical tests for the presence of marijuana are sufficiently reliable to serve as the basis for a license suspension and other legal consequences…To our knowledge, these tests cannot distinguish between trace levels of marijuana that might be the result of second hand smoke and levels that would be indicative that the driver himself or herself consumed the marijuana within a short period of time.”
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