Colorado Fights Driving While High On Pot With New Campaign
Marijuana may be legal for adults in Colorado now, but it’s still illegal to get behind the wheel while high. The state is hoping to make that message loud and clear with a federal grant they just received to tackle marijuana users driving when they’re stoned. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave Colorado a $400,000 grant for the campaign, as well as training more law enforcement officials to spot drivers who are high.
“It’s ironic we’re using federal funding for something that is illegal federally,” said Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman. “But they (federal officials) do realize this is a traffic safety issue and needs to be addressed.”
Television advertising and posters will also play a role in the campaign, which will be fully launched in March. Owners of medical marijuana dispensaries and even some pot users have offered to participate in focus groups because they believe it’s an issue which needs to be addressed. Mike Elliott, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, said that “CDOT and the industry want to stress the importance of using this newly legalized drug in a safe manner.”
Marijuana played a factor in 1,000 DUI cases in 2012 and many fear that number will increase significantly now that pot is legal for adults in the state. However, many pot users believe that marijuana is not as impairing as alcohol when it comes to driving a car. “I see the same comments from people who are users who think they drive better and not worse after using,” said CDOT highway safety manager Glenn Davis. “In many ways, it’s a real tough audience to reach and convince them that ‘No, you don’t drive better, you drive worse.’ ”