We are pleased to report that Illinois’ Governor Rauner exercised a line item veto that we requested of HB 218 that would have established a 15 ng/ml per se level for THC, effectively preventing enforcement of DUI-marijuana in Illinois. (See previous post “Governor Rauner, please consider the consequences.”) Unfortunately, he recommended that legislators support a 5 ng/ml level as is used in Colorado, Washington and Montana. A 5 ng/ml standard is still far too high. (See previous post “What THC limits do toxicologists recommend?”) Various laboratories report that between 45% and 70% of marijuana-impaired drivers test below 5 ng/ml, due in part to the rapid clearance of THC from blood before biological samples can be taken. But a 5 ng/ml level is not as bad as the 15 ng/ml level proposed by Illinois legislators.
On a more positive note, we are pleased to see the interest from several Colorado legislators to support a bill in the 2016 legislative session that would change Colorado’s DUI statute. Today, Colorado has a single DUI statute irrespective of cause: alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. Consequently, the state has no means of measuring DUID separately from DUI-alcohol, or of understanding the prevalence and impact of alcohol and drugs combined. We propose replacing Colorado’s DUI definition with three separate violations, one each for alcohol, drugs, and a combination of alcohol and drugs. Two dozen other states have already created separate DUI/DUID statutes and some are collecting DUID information as a result of their statute construction.
Rep. Jon Keyser has agreed to be the prime sponsor for this bill in 2016. Rep. Jonathan Singer has agreed to be the prime co-sponsor in the house, ensuring bipartisan support.