Here in Colorado marijuana was legalized. Will this make any
difference in regard to auto insurance?
Sure. You can get a DUI with pot, too, and your insurance company
will definitely take notice of that. (See "
Pot legal? You can still get a DUI
estimates that Coloradans will consume 2.2 million ounces of
marijuana next year once new laws go into effect. Hypothetically,
if an abundance of pot smokers taking to the road causes crash
rates to go up, premiums could rise for all Colorado drivers, not
just those who partake.
In November 2012,
voters passed an amendment to the state constitution that basically
set up the legalization of marijuana for personal use. Under
, Colorado residents over the age of 21 are legally allowed to
possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six
This month, May 2013, lawmakers approved bills to officially
regulate recreational marijuana use and sales - making Colorado the
first state to do so in the country. Once the governor signs
them into law
- Marijuana can be sold at specially licensed retail
stores. The first stores of this type are expected to open
January 1, 2014.
- Colorado residents will be able to buy up to an ounce of
marijuana at a time at the retail stores. Individuals
coming in from out-of-state will only be able to purchase a
quarter-ounce at a time.
- Edible marijuana products will have serving-size limits that
consumers will need to abide by.
- Motorists in Colorado will be subjected to a stoned-driving
limit. The law is written so that juries can presume that
any driver testing above the limit was "too high" to drive.
House Bill 1325 isets a marijuana blood content driving
limit. It says that if a driver's blood contains 5 nanograms
or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (referred to as THC) per
milliliter there is "permissible inference" that the individual is
under the influence.
If you're convicted of driving under the influence, whether it's
alcohol or marijuana, you can face plenty of penalties.
Punishment by the state can include the revocation of your license,
possible jail time, fines and fees.
Punishment by car insurance companies comes in the form of
higher premiums. A DUI of any kind is seen as a serious
offense and will squeeze your finances. (See "Tighter DUI rules
could be costly" to find out why we call a first-time DUI the
A Colorado driving record goes back seven years, so while some
insurers may only rate for three, there are those that will go back
five to seven years, adding a surcharge to your premium every
year. Also, a SR-22 may be required for a period of time,
typically three years.
The best way to keep rates low is to keep your driving and
claims records clean and comparison shop for auto insurance at each
renewal period, or when you make changes to your policy like adding
a driver or car.
Even if you end up partaking in too much cannabis and receive a
DUI, shopping around for car insurance can help since each insurer
rates violations differently - a surcharge of 50% instead of 150%
can make a real difference to your finances. (See "Shopping
around after a DUI")