Colorado’s ‘Cannabis Conversation’ Around Automobile Safety

A notable concern of marijuana legalization even among the most staunch enthusiasts is people operating motor vehicles while under marijuana’s influence. While typically (and erroneously) not seen as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, cannabis use can alter your perceptions enough to become a dangerous factor while behind the wheel.

Due to a sharp increase in the number of automobile fatalities that involved marijuana, the state of Colorado’s Department of Transportation along with local authorities have implemented a campaign they are calling The Cannabis Conversation. A campaign designed to survey residents on their thoughts about driving under the influence of marijuana was started by the Department of Transportation and they are hoping that the significant amount of data that they gather will help them come up with ideas to curb this dangerous trend.

Amid a rise in Colorado auto fatalities involving marijuana, state transportation officials are surveying thousands of residents this year to better understand public attitudes toward driving under the influence of pot, with the hopes of blunting the increasingly deadly trend.

The Cannabis Conversation, a campaign led by the Colorado Department of Transportation, law enforcement and the marijuana industry, launched this year.ย It held its first open house in the metro area Wednesday at Denverโ€™s Montclair Recreation Center, and there will be more meetings in Fort Collins, Pueblo and Denver in the coming weeks.

The number of marijuana-related automobile fatalities in Colorado, as measured by the drugโ€™s chief psychoactive ingredient, hit 77 in 2016, the latest in a series of sharp increases in recent years. Fifty-one of those drivers had levels of that substance, called Delta 9 THC, above the threshold for cannabis impairment under Colorado law.

And according to a survey done by CDOT last year, just over half of marijuana users said they had gotten behind the wheel of a vehicle in the last 30 days within two hours of using the drug. That percentage was little changed from the response to the same question a year earlier.

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