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Marijuana DUI Arrests Up 48% In Last Year Across Colorado

DENVER (CBS4)- For the first time, there's hard evidence that more and more people are driving high in Colorado. And, the sobering statistics could impact the growing marijuana industry in our state.

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While police have tracked DUIs for years, they've lumped them altogether, so there's no telling which drugs are the biggest problems.

Ed Wood helped changed that with a law that requires DUI data specify the drug involved. Wood's son Brian was killed by two women sharing the wheel of car while high. Devastated, he dedicated his life to getting marijuana impaired drivers off the road.

"There's a large gap between actual and perceived risk imposed by THC-impaired drivers," said Wood.

While alcohol is still the drug of choice, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation says 47% of drivers are testing positive for marijuana, followed by amphetamines and cocaine. The Colorado State Patrol says DUI arrests involving marijuana are up 48% in the last year.

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"We need to do for drug impairment what we've already done for alcohol impairment," said Wood.

That starts, he says, with changing the Department of Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook which states, "It is unclear whether cannabis use increases the risk of car crashes."

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the number of marijuana impaired drivers involved in deadly crashes has risen every year between 2017 and 2019, the most recent years for which data is available.

Wood knows that any change won't be easy. He's been at it 10 years.

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"There are times I give up and say, 'I'm not doing this anymore.'"

Then, he thinks about the daughter his son never got to meet, "She's the light of my life... so, I get back in and keep on trying."

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