Marijuana advocates and enthusiasts in California celebrated a small victory last week when AB 2500, a bill that would allow police to hand out DUIs to any driver with even a trace amount of THC in their system, was voted down by the state Assembly Public Safety Committee in a 4-2 vote, according to marijuana news and advocacy website the420times.com.
The bill, authored by Democrat Assemblyman Jim Frazier, was defeated on April 29, even after it was changed to include a 2-nanogram THC limit, far lower than the 5-nanogram limit many lawmakers have proposed. According to the report, one of the dissenting votes came from “longtime advocate for sensible cannabis policy” Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, reacted:
“Because THC remains detectable in the bloodstream for hours or days after use, well after deleterious effects have faded, the bill would make marijuana users liable for DUI regardless of whether they were actually impaired at the time.”
Americans for Safe Access must be particularly thrilled about the outcome of the vote; on March 14, they had issued a plea to members, urging them to call the Assembly members on the Public Safety Committee to voice their concerns with the bill. The call to action notes that the 2-nanogram limit is “arbitrary and unscientific,” and that the bill “could turn every legal patient who drives in California into a criminal!”
One of the San Francisco Chronicle’s online blogs, Smell the Truth, noted in an April 4 article that this kind of legislation has been proposed and killed many times before. Director of California NORML Dan Gieringer correctly predicted in that report that this go-around would be no different: “It flopped last year and it will flop this year,” he said.