Word is that State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Chicago) plans to call HB 30 for a vote as soon as next Tuesday to legalize cannabis for medical use. In response, here's some information about HB 30 as prepared by Educating Voices, Inc. for Illinois Partners Providing Marijuana Education
The medical marijuana bill decimates Illinois’ DUI laws. HB0030 allows a medical marijuana patient to operate a motor vehicle:
- If 4 hours have passed since last consuming marijuana, and (Sec. 11-501.9., (a), page 59)
- If the concentration of marijuana in the urine is less than 15 ng/ml (nanograms of marijuana per milliliter) and the concentration in the blood of less than 5 ng/ml. (Sec. 11-501.9.,(b), page 59)
4 Hour Limit —
- Research shows that a single marijuana joint with a moderate level of THC can impair a person’s ability to drive for more than 24 hours. (Leirer et al, 1991)
- Expecting a patient to exercise self-discipline while under the influence of marijuana and refrain from driving for 4 hours is absurd. This law cannot be enforced.
- What is the likelihood that a qualified patient who gets 2½ ounces of marijuana every 14 days (183 joints, 13 per day) is not going to be impaired when they drive?
- Marijuana impairs cognitive and psychomotor performance. It can slow reaction time, impair motor coordination, limit short-term memory, and make it difficult to concentrate and perform complex tasks. Spatial perception is distorted and time perception is impaired so that perceived time goes faster than clock time.
Blood and Urine Tests —
- A blood-content threshold for marijuana is not viable. THC is rapidly cleared from the blood and distributed to body tissues. At the time a driver is stopped for drugged driving THC concentrations are higher than 30 to 90 minutes later when the sample is obtained.
- Researchers have concluded that given the lapse in time impaired drivers would not test at the high blood threshold of 5ng/ml.
- THC is lipid soluble and accumulates in fatty tissues; it is then slowly released back into other parts of the body including the brain.
- Anyone who uses marijuana will have a positive urine for 3-5 days when tested at 15ng/ml.
These exceptions would permit medical marijuana patients to drive impaired with impunity.
Keep in mind:
q One third (33%) of all drivers in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for which there were known drug test results were positive for one or more drug. Marijuana was the most frequently identified drug, accounting for 28% of drug positive drivers. (NHTSA 2010)
q In the 2007 National Roadside Survey, more drivers tested positive for drugs (16.6%) than for alcohol (12.4%). A total of 8.6% of drivers were positive for marijuana.
q The prevalence of driver fatalities involving drugs is three times higher, on average, in states with approved “medical marijuana” laws. (NHTSA, Drug Involvement of Fatally Injured Drivers, Nov. 2010)
Sources: “Medical Marijuana” and Drugged Driving, Institute for Behavior and Health, March 15, 2011. Pharmacology and the effects of cannabis, The British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 178, p. 101-106, February 2001.