New Bill Proposes Zero THC Standard For Commercial Drivers In Washington

By John Novak

A new bill was introduced by Washington State Representative Roger Goodman (Democrat – 45th District) and others. It includes controversial language that would restrict commercial drivers from having any amount of THC in the system, or risk losing their commercial license for at least one year.

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State Rep. Roger Goodman

While this might sound like a good idea on the surface, one only needs to remember that Washington State voters passed I-502, which makes it illegal to drive with more than 5 nanograms.

Rep.  Goodman tried to introduce a DUI bill a few years back that would have implemented an 8 nanogram limit, but quickly withdrew it after heated debate and lack of science behind proving impairment.

This was the big issue that surrounded the 502 debate, with patients and other activists warning that the standards were not appropriate for a state that allows for the medical use of cannabis, especially when most patients would test well over that limit just from their regular use.

In an interview with Fox news, Goodman stated he has heard about the concerns “as to how reliable this 5 nanogram is. There is not much science behind it so I’m expecting challenges in the future.

“But in the meanwhile,” he said, “it is the law; we will just have to comply with it. We just need a lot more information about how it is going to be implemented.”

Goodman is expecting challenges to the 5 nanogram rule by  defense attorneys who say the threshold is too low.

“There is not a lot of research on this, so it will be an interesting ride, so to speak,” said Goodman.

So with all the controversy, one has to wonder about the logic in this bill.  If we can’t determine impairment at 5 or even 8 nanograms, setting a zero tolerance should not even be considered!2159943_f260

Dronabinol, better known as Marinol, is an FDA approved drug.  It is synthetic THC.  Under this bill, even patients who have been legally prescribed this drug would be subject to criminal prosecution for a DUI.

Years back, the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION’s NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION did a comprehensive test on driving under the influence of cannabis.  They concluded that low doses did not interfere with driving ability.

The bottom line is this:  While nobody wants to see commercial drivers impaired and causing accidents, we need to be smart about drawing the line between interfering with the right to medicate and putting arbitrary numbers on blood content.  Limits that have nothing to do with impairment should be rejected.

jnovak

Washington State cannabis activist John Novak was the author of this report, exclusive to TheJointBlog.

 

2 comments

    • Brandon Hinze on February 11, 2013 at 11:52 pm
    • Reply

    this has got to be the most insane thing I’ve seen since the november election. Yet another small group of out of control so called elected officials who want to undermined the peoples decisions.

    Hasn’t the legalization of Marijuana in this state already affirmed to the elected officials here that new laws prohibiting Marijuana isn’t going to be the in the future of the state of Washington.

    Still business as usual when it comes to the democrat and republican parties even in Washington state. People need to realize neither of the so called main stream parties have the people, our state, or our nation, in their future agenda’s unless it keeps business of the past 50 + years in check and them in the drivers seat, as we all skid off the cliff..

  1. How about we test the politicians for alcohol and tobacco and have ZERO tolerance? Or for lies. Again, zero tolerance! It’s kind of like gun control to protect the children – but allowing abortion on the same page. How does that work?!!!

    Blessings,

    Rhea

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