New Zero-Tolerance DUI Bill in CA

May 2, 2012 - A new zero-tolerance DUI bill has been introduced to the California legislature by veteran drug warriors state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Sam Blakeslee (R - SLO). The bill, SB 50, would make it a crime for a person to have a controlled substance in his or her blood while driving a vehicle. (SB 50 was originally introduced as a political reform bill, but was gutted and amended to become a DUID bill on April 16th).

Since marijuana remains in the blood for as along as a week in chronic users, the bill would effectively make every MMJ patient who drives de facto DUI. Just as absurdly, the bill would apply to anyone driving with controlled substances such as Vicodin, Valium, amphetamine and codeine in their bloodstream.

Fortunately, SB 50 appears far too extreme to pass in its present form. Another zero-tolerance DUID proposal, AB 2552 by Assemblywoman Norma Torres, was withdrawn in the face of stiff opposition by the Assembly Public Safety Committee. However, there is always the danger that the bill will be further modified to somehow seem more acceptable.

SB 50 is presently in the Rules Committee, awaiting assignment to another committee for hearing.

NORML strongly urges lawmakers to oppose SB 50, as California's current DUI laws are reasonable and the state's highway fatality rates have recently plunged to record lows. SB 50 is essentially another make-crime bill for the state's bloated prison-law enforcement establishment.

- D. Gieringer