As the first full year of legalized marijuana in Colorado, 2014 proved to be a testing ground for drug policy in not just the state but potentially as a model for the rest of the country too. But while lawmakers across the nation contemplate following Colorado's example in revising their own approaches to legalization, law enforcement throughout this state were only concerned with whether or not legal access to weed was going to create a spike in rates of driving under the influence of marijuana. According to a new poll, though, those fears may be alleviated with the news that only a very small portion of cited intoxicated drivers were stoned at the time of their DUI.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) issued over 5,500 citations throughout the year for DUID or DUI in Colorado. Of these, only 354 citations, or 6 percent, were issued exclusively for marijuana use. Another 674 — or 12 percent — were handed out for a combination of driving under the influence of marijuana and alcohol.
But while stoned driving didn't prove to be the epidemic some feared, more disconcerting was the level of misinformation found around marijuana use. A poll conducted last year by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) as part of its "Drive High, Get a DUI" campaign revealed that 43 percent of motorists throughout the state didn't think driving while stoned was a problem. In a separate survey, 21 percent of those polled said they didn't think they could get tickets for driving while high, and half of respondents attested to driving two hours or less after smoking or eating cannabis.
"We won't be satisfied until everyone in Colorado takes driving high seriously, so the need for awareness and education is paramount," said CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford in an official statement.
If you've been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, contact The Orr Law Firm for expert legal counsel to defend your case.