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What Is the Legal Limit of Marijuana For Drivers?

Since the voter-approved Amendment 64 went into effect on Dec. 10, 2013, it has been legal in Colorado for anyone 21 and over to use marijuana or possess up to an ounce of marijuana for any purpose.  Marijuana possession and use by people under 21 who aren’t medical-marijuana patients remains against the law.


While recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado, consumption is banned in any public place, national parks, national forests, national monuments, ski slopes, etc. Denver police are stepping up enforcement, and the federal government has given Colorado funding to better identify and curb drivers who are under the influence of the drug.

“Smoking marijuana has a very negative effect on your ability to operate a motor vehicle,” Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, states.  “It’s quite dangerous to you, your passengers and others on the road.”

What the Law States

When it comes to your motor vehicle, you can transport marijuana in your vehicle as long as you don’t consume it. Driving stoned is absolutely against the law. In fact, this year, Colorado made it easier to win convictions against stoned drivers.

The state has set a standard of how much THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana) drivers can have in their system. The law, which set legal limits on marijuana levels in the bloodstream, took effect in Colorado on May 28, 2013. Under the new law, drivers are assumed to be impaired if their blood test shows a level of THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana) of 5 or more nanograms per milliliter.

The level of intoxication would be determined by a blood test. If a driver tests above that, prosecutors can tell the jury they can assume that the driver was impaired.

However, it should be noted that no matter the level of THC, law enforcement officers base arrests on observed impairment. Impairment effects of marijuana include: Relaxation, euphoria, disorientation, altered time and space perception, drowsiness, paranoia, image distortion, and increased heart rate.

Any driver who refuses to take a blood test will immediately be considered a high-risk driver. Consequences include: mandatory ignition interlock for two years, and level two alcohol education and therapy classes as specified by law. These penalties are administrative, and are applied regardless of a criminal conviction. Penalties are the same regardless of the substance, or combination of substances.

Colorado Law Enforcement Officers are trained in the detection of impairment caused by drugs.  Many Colorado Law Enforcement Officers have received advanced training in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). Across the state of Colorado, law enforcement agencies have specially trained Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) on staff that can detect impairment from a variety of substances.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident due to someone’s negligent driving caused by drug use, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages.

Contact one of the experienced Colorado auto accident attorneys at McDivitt Law Firm today.  Call toll free (877) 846-4878, or click here to fill out a free case evaluation form. Remember, your initial consultation is absolutely free, and you do not owe us a fee until we collect money for you.

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