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Colo. question: How high is "too high to drive"?

The Colorado State Patrol says a driver under the influence of marijuana caused this crash on Interstate 76 on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Colorado State Patrol via CBS Denver

DENVER - Now that the state of Colorado has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, the federal government is providing new funding designed to help keep stoned drivers off the road, CBS Denver reports.

The station says the state has has 185 officers specially trained to recognize drivers under the influence of drugs, and that officials hope to add another 35 officers and develop an advertising campaign aimed at preventing driving while high.

The efforts are being made possible with a $400,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to CBS Denver.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Emily Wilfong says the money will pay for public awareness messages on posters and on TV, specifically targeting males aged 18 through 24.

“Those individuals are likely the ones that might be using it recreationally, might not know DUI laws and may be out on our roads,” said Wilfong.

She said that in 2012 marijuana was a factor in more than 1000 Colorado DUI cases.

CBS Denver reports the ads will start running in March.

Attorney Lauren Davis said she supports the ads, but her issue is with the level of THC needed to be declared legally impaired, 5 nanograms. She says the level is not based on science, and can sometimes be found in people who smoked several days earlier.

“The bottom line is you can be over 5 nanograms, it may not have any correlation to whether or not you’re impaired,” said Davis.

The feds want drivers to know any amount pot and driving is a bad combination.

“If you partake, be responsible and stay off the roads,” said Wilfong.

On Saturday a driver believed to be under the influence of marijuana hit two Colorado State Patrol cruisers on Interstate 76. The officers had pulled over to investigate another crash.



  • Crimesider Staff

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