The recent passage of Colorado’s Amendment 64, raises several questions with regard to pot use by juveniles and drivers. At a recent meeting of Colorado’s marijuana legalization task force, members made recommendations for how both drivers and individuals under the age of 21 should be dealt with if found in possession of marijuana.
Currently, juveniles found in possession of marijuana face criminal
drug charges. Many argue, however, that current penalties are too punitive and potentially harm a juvenile’s chances of obtaining financial aid or applying for scholarships. Taking these factors into consideration, the task force made the recommendation that a minor’s first offense be treated as a civil rather than criminal matter.
In regards to recommendations for how to address stoned driving, task force members recommended treating stoned driving similar to drunk driving. Should the recommendations of the task force be adopted, individuals found to have a more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood would be considered too impaired to drive. Accordingly, they would face criminal charges.
The laws governing stoned driving, however, would differ in that violators would be able to use a defense related to tolerance level. Therefore, an individual arrested for driving with more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood could use the legal argument that their tolerance level for the drug is high enough that they are not impaired.
Colorado’s adoption of Amendment 64 is certain to bring many changes to how both juveniles and adults are treated with regard to criminal drug charges. We’ll continue to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of potential changes in the coming months.
Source: The Gazette, ”
Marijuana task force backs DUI bill in legislature,” Megan Schrader, Feb. 5, 2013