Pot Critic Tests 3 Times Over Proposed Limit — While Sober


Photo: Denver Westword
Westword pot critic William Breathes got his blood drawn last week to test THC levels in his blood. He wasn’t high at the time. But he still tested three times over the proposed legal limit for Colorado.

‚ÄčThere’s a big problem with tests which measure THC levels in the blood. That being, those tests measure THC levels just fine, but they don’t do shit when it comes to measuring actual impairment — which is why those tests are a piss-poor way to enforce a law against driving while impaired on cannabis.

That simple fact has been highlighted by the spectacular failure of Denver Westword pot critic William Breathes to pass Colorado’s blood test for THC-impaired driving. Breathes not only flunked the test, but he tested nearly three times over the proposed limit of five nanograms per milliliter of blood — while sober.
As Breathes pointed out today, that means that he — and thousands of other medical marijuana patients in the Rocky Mountain State — may be risking arrest every time they drive if the measure passes.
Even Rep. Levy, the sponsor of the bill which limits THC driving limits, is now having second thoughts about the five ng/ml limit, concerned that it may be so low as to unintentionally hurt patients like William Breathes. 
“Among the concerns about HB 1261, the THC driving bill first offered by Representative Claire Levy, is the fact that THC can stay in the body days after patients medicate,” Breathes wrote. “And my latest test offers proof.”

The lab’s serum/plasma test showed Breathes’ THC count to be at 27. The number of active THC ng/ml count is about half that total, or around 13.5 ng/ml, according to Dr. Alan Shackelford, who ordered the blood work and evaluated the results.
According to Dr. Shakelford, Breathes was “in no way incapacitated” at the time of the test.
“In short: If this bill passes and I was pulled over by the police, I would be over the limit by 8.5 nanograms,” Breathes wrote. “By that logic, I would be more likely to have mowed down a family in my car on my way to the doctor’s office that day than actually arriving there safely.
“But I didn’t — because I wasn’t impaired,” Breathes wrote.