Colorado Congressman Jared Polis has introduced legislation to expand the federal definition of impaired drive to include those who have a cognitive or physical impairment due to the use of marijuana.
The Democratic representative said the Limiting Unsafe Cannabis-Impaired Driving — LUCID — Act is needed now that Washington and Colorado have legalized recreational marijuana. A national benchmark is needed, he said, to protect citizens from drivers under the influence of marijuana.
"As more and more states follow the will of their citizens and implement regulations to treat marijuana like alcohol, it is vital that we keep our roads safe and save lives by updating our driving under the influence laws,” Polis said. “The LUCID Act creates a single federal standard that will protect the public from impaired drivers and train law enforcement officials to effectively identify offenders. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work quickly to advance this legislation and keep impaired drivers, no matter what impaired them, off the road.”
The measure has support from law enforcement communities in Colorado, including the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police and the Colorado District Attorney's Council.
"It is imperative that with the likelihood of the majority of states in the union moving toward legalizing the use of either medical or recreational marijuana or both, that all states adopt robust legislation to prevent and deter driving under the influence of marijuana,” said Tom Raynes, executive director of the Colorado District Attorneys' Council.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and the state's transportation department also have endorsed the measure.
States, under the measure, would be permitted to implement their own laws regarding marijuana-impaired driving if such impairment appears alongside alcohol-impaired driving.