Some seven months have passed since stores in Colorado started selling legal marijuana. CBS Denver reports that one local substance abuse treatment center has seen a noticeable and detrimental impact of marijuana legalization and sales. The center indicates it has seen a growing number of people who have been arrested for driving while under the influence of marijuana in the time period since marijuana sales began.
Drivers who have used marijuana have delayed reaction time and impaired judgment, just like those who are under the influence of alcohol. A stoned driver could injure himself or others and victims of accidents need to contact a Denver personal injury attorney for help pursuing a claim for compensation if they are injured.
Marijuana Users Need to Recognize Driving Dangers
Officials with the Colorado State Patrol have not yet indicated whether there has been a spike in the number of drivers on the roads who are abusing marijuana. However, it may take a while for arrest and accident figures to reveal the extent of the problem.
The substance abuse center told CBS Denver it is seeing a noticeable uptick in people arrested for driving high. The organization actually runs three centers in the Denver metro area. According to intake data for the centers from this time in 2013, there were 112 people admitted to the detox facility after DUI arrests involving marijuana. This year, there have been 197 people who have been admitted following an arrest.
Being cited for driving under the influence of marijuana can be a wake up call to a legal pot user that he is taking his habit too far or putting himself and others at risk. As a result, many people who are arrested may visit a substance abuse center for help, which could affect the data.
State troopers were prepared before legalization to keep stoned drivers off the road. Stoned drivers fail the same tests as drunk drivers do and police can identify someone who is stoned at a DUI checkpoint or a traffic stop. A driver arrested for a drug-related DUI faces the same potential penalties and license suspension as someone who was drunk.
Drivers need to be aware. They also need to know that driving after consuming any amount of cannabis is an unacceptable risk. The CEO of the substance abuse center warned: “There’s this perception that I’ve used a little bit so it’s okay.” He cautions that drivers need to take a stance on what they do after consuming the drug and should realize that as a driver they should not use any impairing substance.
The impact of legal marijuana will become more clear over time, but for now every driver needs to do his part to avoid becoming an accident statistic. Motorists who are planning on using cannabis products should avoid getting behind the wheel and should have a designated driver to take them where they need to go just as people who consume alcohol do.
Contact Bell & Pollock at (877) 744-5900 or visit https://www.bellpollockinjury.com to schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Denver.