Posted: Jan 18, 2013 8:50 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - The law enforcement community is asking the Montana Legislature to set a legal limit for people who drive under the influence of marijuana.
Representative "Doc" Moore (R-Missoula) is carrying a bill which would set the legal limit at five nanograms per milliliter.
Anyone caught driving with more marijuana in their system than the bill allows, would essentially be charged with a DUI.
MHP Drug Recognition Expert Kurt Sager testified in favor of the bill before the House Judiciary committee on Thursday.
He says in 2012 the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) reported 490 of all the blood submissions sent to the State Crime Lab were marijuana related. He says it's quickly become the most prevalent drug involved in traffic accidents.
"As a law enforcement officer, it is my duty to protect and serve the citizens of the state of Montana. Being a highway patrol officer my duties are most geared toward people who motor up and down Montana's roadways," Sager says. "This bill will be very beneficial for us as law enforcement in protecting Montana citizens against impaired drivers."
Dr. Pat Pardis, a Montana chiropractor, is one of two medical marijuana advocates who oppose the bill. He says the limit is too low and it would make criminals of the medical marijuana cardholders in Montana.
"I think what you could do is just take the drivers licenses away of all medical marijuana users. I think we are down to about 8,000 now," Pardis testified. "So you can just take their licenses away because none of them will probably pass the standard that you've set."
The House Judiciary committee has yet to take action on the bill.