On Friday, Governor Steve Bullock signed into law a bill that was a top priority for Attorney General Tim Fox and Montana’s law enforcement community.
HB 168, sponsored by Representative David “Doc” Moore (R-Missoula), makes Montana’s highways safer by establishing a standard of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) impairment that is universal for all drivers. THC is the physiologically active component in marijuana. Previously, only medical marijuana cardholders had to abide by a set limit of 5 ng/ml of THC in their blood. There was no standard for drivers using marijuana illegally.
Motor vehicle accidents and deaths on Montana’s roads attributable to marijuana are on the rise. Last year, 218 crashes involved THC and alcohol, compared to 175 in 2011 and 126 in 2010. Attorney General Tim Fox said, “Reducing fatalities on our roadways is of the utmost importance to the Montana Department of Justice. This new law will help save lives by discouraging people from getting behind the wheel when impaired. It will also give Montana’s prosecutors the tools to punish those who endanger innocent citizens through impaired driving.”
Representative Moore said, “It is my greatest wish that this law will help save lives. I came to Helena with an idea to make the roads safer for Montana citizens, and through the legislative process, supporters came forward to help. Without the help of the Attorney General’s office, law enforcement, the State Crime Lab, and the support of county attorneys across the state, we would not have succeeded in shepherding this legislation into law.”