A state survey found 69 percent of marijuana users have driven under the influence in the past year, and 27 percent admitted to driving high almost daily.
Launched in February, Colorado Department of Transportation’s The Cannabis Conversation campaign is part of a statewide initiative to gather feedback and better understand the public’s perception and behavior surrounding driving and marijuana use.
Preliminary results from the survey found that 34 percent of medical marijuana users said they do not think marijuana affects their driving ability, and 10 percent think consuming marijuana makes them a better driver.
Of those who consumed marijuana in the past year, 56 percent said they drive themselves while high. Of the non-users surveyed, 35 percent said they have been a passenger in the car with a driver who was high.
“This is a complex issue, evidenced in the fact that we’re seeing quite a few mixed messages from our outreach,” CDOT communications manager Sam Cole said in a news release. “While 40 percent of recreational users said they don’t think being under the influence of marijuana affects their ability to drive safely, almost half of all survey participants said driving under the influence of marijuana puts people in danger.”
More than 11,000 anonymous marijuana users and non-users have completed the survey so far. The online survey will remain open through early summer, and the public can participate online at ColoradoCannabisConvo.com.
The department has also hosted public meetings, attended events and conducted in-person interviews to collect information. The next event CDOT will be attending is the Mile High 420 Festival at Civic Center Park in Denver on Friday, April 20.
Participants have brought up issues like the need for better research and testing for measuring marijuana impairment frequently during public meetings and interviews, according to a news release.
Participants also said dispensaries are a trusted source of information and should play a major role in sharing information with consumers about the laws and dangers of driving high.
The department hopes to use the information from The Cannabis Conversation surveys to create education and awareness campaigns to help curb marijuana-impaired driving.
Traffic crashes resulting in serious consequences have been rising. In 2016, there were 51 fatalities in the state that involved a driver with active THC in their blood above the legal limit of five nanograms, according to the news release.
“What this information tells us is that Colorado still has a lot of work to do in order to change behavior,” Cole said.
To see the full preliminary survey results or to participate in the survey, visit ColoradoCannabisConvo.com.