Stoned Sober: The Problem with Testing Drivers "Under the Influence" of Marijuana

April 19 2011, 8:56 AM

William Breathes probably smokes more marijuana than most people. As Westword's preeminent pot critic, he gets paid to review the city's numerous dispensaries and products, and as a card-carrying medical marijuana patient, his consumption is legal under Colorado law. Test results showed that when Breathes is "sober," according to his doctor, his blood contains 13.5 nanograms per milliliter of THC—the active ingredient in marijuana (Westword). That's nearly three times the amount certain lawmakers and law enforcement officials claim should be allowed for him to operate a vehicle.

"THC can stay in the body days after patients medicate. And my latest test offers proof," Breathes writes. Such statements made some state Senators uneasy yesterday after Breathes revealed his results, leading them to "gut" a proposal that would set the state's marijuana DUI limit at five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood (Denver Post). Confounding the situation is the difficulty in determining the potency of specific strains of marijuana, say some dispensary owners, who have received inconsistent results from state laboratories (Post).