Thoughts on Colorado’s new marijuana laws

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jan 03, 2014 | 2 Comments

Colorado is the first state that allows for the open sale of marijuana, and as of January 1, 2014, any adult can purchase marijuana. This marijuana law differs from initiatives that have passed in other states that have legalized medical marijuana.

I believe in the libertarian principle that people own their own bodies and should have the right to consume any substance.  If the substance causes harm, that is the problem of the consumer.

With that being said, for those of us who live in Georgia marijuana is still illegal to possess or consume. As a result of the differences in the marijuana laws, people who consume marijuana in Colorado risk being charged with DUI in other states.

There are two metabolites of marijuana.  The active metabolite, which causes the psychoactive effect, is 11-hydroxy-delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol.  The inactive metabolite, which does not cause a psychoactive effect is 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol.  Both metabolites can be present in a person's blood at the same time.

Unfortunately for Georgia citizens, the Georgia Crime Lab does not test for the active metabolite of marijuana.  As a result, they don't test for actual impairment.  Prosecutors use the presence of the inactive marijuana metabolite, in combination with a defendant's physical manifestations, to prove that a person is under the influence of marijuana.  The Crime Lab has the technical ability to test for the active marijuana metabolite but simply does not.

Marijuana metabolites can remain in a person's blood for several weeks.  As we know from other cases, police officers often misinterpret field sobriety testing.  As a result people can be arrested and often convicted of DUI Drugs while not actually being impaired.  The justification used by police officers and prosecutors is that the marijuana consumption was illegal, so those arrested deserve it.

Now here is the catch.  A person can travel to Colorado and legally consume marijuana. When they return home to Georgia they may get in a car accident.  The GBI Crime Lab, in their infinite lack of wisdom, will not test the person's blood for active marijuana metabolite.  Since the person legally consumed marijuana in Colorado, they will have inactive marijuana metabolites in their blood. As a result, a person who has broken no laws can be arrested for DUI drugs.  Even worse, if someone is injured or killed in the car accident, the person can be arrested for a felony serious injury by vehicle or felony vehicular homicide.

As more states liberalize their drug laws, the above-mentioned example will most certainly occur.  The Law Offices of Richard Lawson is ready to fight these false arrests for DUI Marijuana.  Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for immediate legal attention.

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Richard Lawson

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Gary Reply

Posted Feb 24, 2014 at 13:51:31

Well said, Sir. I have been wondering how Colorado’s law changes would impact the rest of the U.S. I am sure the surrounding states are already dealing with this.

Richard Lawson Reply

Posted Feb 24, 2014 at 13:56:24

It will certainly be interesting. Georgia is a conservative State.

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