Steven Hogg beat a cannabis DUI charge in Eagle County, Colorado after jurors ruled that there was no evidence his blood/thc level indicated an inability to drive.
While law enforcement is eager to create a new cash cow out of cannabis DUIs, the science supporting their fear-based claims just isn’t there. In fact, there is increasing evidence that cannabis legalization lowers traffic fatalities. Presented with this evidence, the second jury in a Colorado courtroom has said no to the states arbitrary testing protocol via a not-guilty verdict.
From Summit Daily:
A local man insisted he was not driving while impaired by marijuana, and a jury took less than an hour and a half to acquit him.
Not only did the jury side with Steven Hogg and his defense attorneys Lauren Butler and Jim Little, they also threw out a couple traffic infractions added just before the trial, Little said.
“Mr. Hogg was adamant that he was not impaired, and that he wanted to exercise his right to go to trial,” Butler said.
NANOGRAMS NOT SETTLED SCIENCE
Unlike alcohol, where blood alcohol levels are hard and settled science, marijuana impairment levels are less clear, Little said.
With a .08 blood alcohol level, you’re impaired, Little said. With marijuana, it’s not that clear cut.
When Colorado voters legalized pot, state lawmakers set 5 nanograms of marijuana in the bloodstream as legally impaired.
Defendants are successfully challenging that 5-nanogram level. Hogg’s was the second DUID case in Eagle County. Defendants have won both cases.
“The scientific community is still studying the level at which people are too impaired to drive. The issue gets gray when dealing with regular users,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown said. “Regular users build an immunity.”
The science does not support arbitrary impairment levels in regular users, such as 5 nanograms, Butler said.
“We don’t believe the science supports a 5 nanogram level for impairment for everyday smokers. In this cast the jury agreed with us,” Butler said.
A novice user is likely to be impaired at 5 nanograms. A regular user will build up a tolerance and will not feel the effects, Little said.
Cannabis DUIs are law enforcement’s new front in the drug war, but if enough of the victims in this racket insist on juries trials, and enough juries make the sensible choice to return innocent verdicts, this new policing-for-profit plague can be stopped dead in its traffic.
If you are no familiar with Jury Nullification, please take the time to educate yourself. This is what the justice system does NOT want you to know. This is how we beat their irrational, destructive and inhumane laws.
The state of Colorado is unlikely to appeal these decisions because doing so would push them into higher courts where a decision against them could result in a case precedent that would undermine the cannabis DUI laws entirely.
With the proper legal tools and a growing amount of evidence against them, we could stop cannabis DUI laws before they become another ruinous tool against peaceful people by a mercilessly ruthless justice system.