DENVER — Supporters of a bill to set a marijuana blood limit for drivers are livid that lawmakers Monday night killed the measure for a fourth straight year, especially because Colorado voters last November legalized marijuana.
No one is angrier than a Morrison man named Ed Wood, who’s been pushing for a DUID law ever since his son was killed in a car crash caused by drivers with all sorts of drugs in their system.
“They voted in favor of pot smokers, instead of DUID victims,” Wood told FOX31 Denver Tuesday. “That’s a choice they made.”
House Bill 114, under which drivers would be presumed too high to drive if their blood contains more than 5 nano-grams of THC per milliliter, passed the House on a bipartisan vote.
But Monday night, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted the legislation down on a vote of 4-1; all three Democrats on the panel and one of two Republicans voted no.
“It would have held those who drive while high on marijuana accountable for their actions,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, a former police officer.
“At a time when marijuana use in Colorado is on the rise, this bill was desperately needed. In 2011 alone, 13 percent of deadly crashes on Colorado road involved marijuana.”
On Wednesday, lawmakers will hear testimony on two measures aimed at implementing Amendment 64 and creating a regulatory and legal framework to allow for the legal use of marijuana within the state.
Wood’s son was killed in Washington, which also legalized marijuana last year, when an oncoming SUV lost control when the driver tried to put on a sweater, went airborne and smashed through his windshield, killing him instantly.
As the SUV rolled to a stop, it ejected a trail of drug supplies — heroin, methamphetamine, syringes, smoking pipes and a pistol; and toxicology reports showed the driver and the passenger of the vehicle with marijuana, heroin and meth in their blood at the time of the wreck.
But they only got a 26 month sentence because Washington state, like Colorado, didn’t have a law making it illegal to drive a car under the influence of drugs.
Establishing such laws has become a crusade of sorts for Wood.
He just didn’t imagine it would be so difficult to make headway here in his home state.
“We’ve got a very strong marijuana and medical marijuana lobby. It’s a huge business,” he said. “They’ve spent a ton of money convincing people that marijuana is benign. It’s not, but that’s what people believe.
“And we have an awful lot of politicians who know how to count votes. They know there are more voters who are pot smokers than DUID victims, so that’s the way they vote.”