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Ending Marijuana Prohibition

World’s First Marijuana Mall Opens In Colorado- But How Do You Get Home?

Entrepreneurs Sean Sheridan and Chris Elkins are preparing to open the World’s First Marijuana Mall in Trinidad, Colorado. They have high expectations for the 5 dispensaries they plan to bring in: “If they’re not doing $5 million a year, then we’re not driving enough traffic,” Sheridan said. But the important question we should be asking is: How about people going to get home?

Driving after Smoking Marijuana

Ride-sharing companies will play an important role in making your next trip to the pot mall even safer & more enjoyable. As part of their “Drive High, Get a DUI” campaign, the CDOT even suggests using Uber and Lyft.

Here’s a worrying trend: The CDOT reports that since marijuana use became legal in January 2014, the percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents who tested positive for marijuana has increased from 4.7% in 2012 to 12% in 2014.

fatal crashes colorado marijuana

Is there a DUI for Smoking Marijuana and Driving in Colorado?

We spoke with Attorney Jay Tiftickjian, an expert in Colorado marijuana dui law, and here’s what you need to know:

From a legal perspective, drinking and smoking pot are treated the same if your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired – even to the slightest degree. There’s actually a legal term for driving while high in Colorado: DUI-D (driving under the influence of drugs) and there are other terms to understand, like DUI and DWAI.

How much marijuana can I use and then drive?

With drinking alcohol and driving, your blood alcohol content is easily determined when you submit to a blood test (check out this BAC Calculator). With marijuana, however, the law states “Colorado also has an inference of impairment with a blood test of 5 nano grams or more of active THC.” So the officers must determine if you are ‘impaired’ while driving in order to request that you submit to a blood test to determine the level of active THC in your system. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts if you get pulled over.

What’s the bottom line?

The current law allows those charged with driving under the influence to try and prove they weren’t actually impaired, even if they tested above the 5-nanogram limit. As it turns out, some drivers who have faced DUI-D or DWAI for marijuana impairment in court have had their charges reduced and, in some cases, even dropped. Now is a good time to put Jay’s number in your smartphone in case you ever have questions related to Colorado’s DUI or DWAI laws: (303) 991-5896. To learn more, visit CriminalLawDenver.com.

  • saynotohypocrisy

    “The percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents who tested positive for marijuana has increased from 4.7% in 2012 to 12% in 2014.”
    But, first of all, are they testing more people?
    Does ‘tested positive’ means the level of cannabis in their blood was above 5ng? If that’s the case I would expect them to be indicted under Colorado law for DUI-D driving, and I’m not hearing anything about indictments. Something’s not adding up. Can anyone clarify the situation? Are they still using the old test that provides no information at all on a person’s current level of THC, or the newer blood cannabis level test that provides more relevant, but still hard to interpret information?
    If the cops actually suspect a specific individual of causing a fatal wreck DUI cannabis, they can publicly say so, can’t they? I haven’t heard anything about that either.

    • darthhillbilly

      Most numbers are inflated by the presence of metabolites…they stay in your system forever…(30+ days) the question for me is how much of that percentage is inflated by people who have smoked…but aren’t in any way high? Were a small percentage people that use CBD only? I would love more information…

      • Closet Warrior

        Also, if you have a higher body fat percentage, the cannibidial electrolytes bond stronger and stay longer. I’m 5’11″” @ 225 lbs. and a heavy smoker too, I took 4 piss tests over a 7 week period from a pain doctor one time for a car crash and he let me have my meds but asked me when I was gonna quit smokin as to him not losing his medical license. I had quit 5 1/2 weeks earlier because I was in pain that smoke wouldn’t prevent as well. He didn’t believe me but told me to quit anyway, lol. I just started back smokin and stretched out my meds and healed the best way I know :exercise, be strong willed and never give up. Don’t stop smokin either. He he

    • Tom Woodward

      My understanding is that much of the data on the increase comes from testing the blood of drivers killed in crashes. Hard to indict them.

      • saynotohypocrisy

        Can’t argue with you there. But that still leaves the crashes where the cannabis using driver wasn’t killed. Also, if the cops strongly suspect that a cannabis impaired driver was killed in a crash, why wouldn’t they make that public? That’s what they do with drunk drivers who’ve killed themselves.

        • Tom Woodward

          Alcohol use can be quickly confirmed whereas marijuana involvement often takes weeks or months to confirm.

          • saynotohypocrisy

            Even if true, that would just mean the indictments for survivors and assignments of blame for the dead would be delayed, not cancelled. Where are the indictments and assignments of blame?

          • Tom Woodward

            The media is seldom interested in reporting on something that is months old, particularly when it is simply providing updates such as lab results or traffic charges being replaced. Even if law enforcement were to provide the info it likely wouldn’t be reported our if it was it would be a few lines tucked into some obscure inside page.

          • saynotohypocrisy

            It wouldn’t get buried. Drug warrior cops would be shouting about it from the rooftops. There’s nothing they would like better than to be able to pin specific fatal crashes on cannabis impaired drivers.

  • Of the people who tested positive for marijuana, how many of them had alcohol?

    crickets

  • Mark Godfrey

    Gee if only bars had parking lots then we’d know.

  • nixnoutz

    Will there be bus service?