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loucorrea.jpgProsecutors would have an easier time convicting people in California for driving under the influence of drugs if a bill Sen. Lou Correa has introduced becomes law.

Senate Bill 289 makes it a crime for anyone to drive if their system contains any detectable amount of drugs classified by the government as Schedule I, II, III or IV. That includes marijuana, amphetamines, steroids, tranquilizers and other drugs - but not drugs classified as Schedule V, like Tylenol with codeine, according to information from Correa's office.

"We want to send a clear message that any level of being drugged is dangerous when driving, so the level should be zero," Correa, D-Santa Ana, said during a Capitol press conference this morning introducing the bill.

"This is about keeping our streets safe about keeping our families safe. It took decades to pound into people that you should not drink and drive, that it is dangerous to drink and drive. Then we started talking about texting and talking on the phone and driving. And today, this is about being drugged and driving."

The bill makes an exception for people who have prescriptions, including prescriptions for medical marijuana. Still, medical marijuana advocates came to Correa's press conference to oppose the bill. They said the law should test for impairment, rather than the presence of drugs in the bloodstream.

"We don't want to see drugged driving either, but we don't want to see every patient in the state targeted," said Lanette Davies, of Crusaders for Patients Rights.

SB 289 is a second attempt for Correa, who introduced a similar bill last year. SB 50 died in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. Correa has opened a campaign committee to raise money for a 2018 run for Attorney General.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Lou Correa pitches a bill for zero tolerance for driving while using drugs. The Sacramento Bee/Renee C. Byer



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