Prosecutors and police in Colorado are reportedly ‘furious’ after juries have allowed people arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana to walk away scot free. And while I’ll be the first person to tell you that nobody should ever operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, I’m actually siding with the citizen juries here because they’re using common sense.
In the instances where people have been arrested and allowed to walk away by the juries it’s because those people were using marijuana as medication, and the legal limit of TCH for operation of a motor vehicle (5 ng/ml blood-THC) is a completely made up and arbitrary number thrown together by police and state legislators without any basis whatsoever. If this sounds a little confusing it’s because I’m doing a pretty shitty job of explaining all of this.
Adams County, CO — Colorado prosecutors are getting frustrated at jurors for daring to exercise rationality instead of blindly following the will of the State. A growing number of juries are acquitting people of driving under the influence of cannabis, even when tests show they are over the state’s legal blood-THC limit.
Since the recreational use of cannabis became legal, Colorado authorities are scrambling to apply rules and regulations to this new reality. They have established a 5 ng/ml blood-THC limit for operation of a motor vehicle, which seems to be arbitrary as there is no preponderance of data to support a specific number.
Indeed, the assumption that driving on weed poses the same risks as driving on alcohol would be a fallacy. In September, we reported on a novel study that found virtually no driving impairment under the influence of cannabis, while alcohol caused complete impairment.
While this site states ‘a growing number of juries are acquitting people…’ they then go on to only cite one instance, the case of Melanie Brinegar. Melanie’s case is a PERFECT EXAMPLE of a jury letting someone go in a case that would enrage both police and prosecutors. I do however feel the need to read a few more instances of this happening before I’m willing to accept their assertion of ‘a growing number’, though I guess if this is the only instance of this happening the number did grow from 0 to 1. Here’s what The Free Thought Project has to say about Melanie’s case:
Take the case of Melanie Brinegar, who was stopped in June for an expired license plate. The cop, not content with collecting that revenue, decided to ruin her day on the suspicion that she was high, even though she had not displayed any erratic driving.
Instead of invoking her 5th Amendment right to remain silent, Brinegar—a licensed medical cannabis patient—answered the cop’s inquiry by saying, “No, I was medicating.”
That gave cops the excuse to demand she perform roadside sobriety tests, at which she did poorly. This enabled them to commit a further intrusion by taking a blood sample, which showed that Brinegar was almost four times over the state’s legal limit.
However, in court Brinegar said that she “drives better” and “is able to focus” after using cannabis. She went on to testify, “When I smoke I don’t get high.”
The jurors believed her. What’s more, the sober jurors tried doing roadside sobriety maneuvers on their own, and some of them failed. They concluded that Brinegar, although “legally” high, was not impaired.
As Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana recreationally they’ll continue to be the state that sets the example for the rest of the nation, and in cases like this I can only imagine the result being police unions nationwide throwing more and more money at lobbying against marijuana legalization. It’s not a good look for police departments to be continuously overruled by the citizens in cases like this, and I’m guessing our nation’s police want to ensure they don’t find themselves in the same positions as the police in Colorado.
If you’re still interested in reading more about this then CLICK HERE to head on over to The Free Thought Project, and be sure to share this story with your Colorado bros and/or bros who love to smoke the sticky icky. Also, if you care to read about my personal experience at the High Times Cannabis Cup on 4/20 in Denver and what it’s like to go to the weed dispensaries follow the link below!