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Safe Pot Use Is The Message During 4/20 Marijuana Holiday

DENVER (CBS4)- Colorado law enforcement are breaking from traditional messaging about marijuana use and instead promoting a "safe pot use" message.

The campaign begins this weekend as tens of thousands are expected at public rallies and festivals in observation of the 4/20 marijuana holiday on Monday. One of the biggest was at Civic Center Park on Saturday to celebrate 4/20 a little early.

pot rally civic center park
The 4/20 rally at Civic Center Park on Saturday (credit: CBS)

"Not enough marijuana users in this state know that it's illegal to drive high and know that you can get a DUI for driving high," said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Sam Cole.

CDOT will target the demographic determined most likely to use pot and then drive -- men between the ages of 21 to 34.

The agency will be at cannabis festivals, concerts and celebrations. But instead of handing out warnings, they're handing out snacks branded with reminders to munch, not drive, after smoking pot.

RELATED STORIES: Marijuana Legalization Story Archive

The message, "Drive High, Get A DUI' was prominently displayed at the High Times Cannabis Cup, held at the Denver Merchandise Mart, where an estimated 40,000 marijuana enthusiasts gathered on Saturday.

"I think it's a great message, you should definitely not smoke and get behind the wheel of a vehicle at any time," said Ilene, a marijuana enthusiast.

"You don't smoke before you have something important to do. You do it when you want to relax and when you just want to hang out," said Pete, a marijuana enthusiast.

CDOT said this is their biggest campaign to prevent people from driving under the influence of THC, the chemical responsible for marijuana's effects.

drive high dui
(credit: CBS)

In Colorado's first year of recreational legalization of marijuana, Colorado State Patrol arrested 700 cannabis-impaired drivers, totaling 12 percent of all DUI arrests.

"Impairment is impairment whether you're high on drugs or you're drunk on alcohol, it's impairment. You can be arrested, you can be fined $10,000, you can go to jail and you can have your driver's license taken away," said Cole.

The message has gotten through to some.

"I'm good. Got the old bicycle or the old Fred Flinstone, you know? Just 'Yabba, dabba, doo,'" said Cannabis Cup attendee Jude Steers.

The Colorado 420 Coalition organized a rally across the street from the state Capitol at Lincoln Park on Monday at 4:20 p.m. They will be protesting the fact that smoking marijuana in public is still illegal.

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