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Study: marijuana much less likely to cause crashes than alcohol

Many Colorado advocates of marijuana legalization have for years argued that consuming the leafy green substance is less dangerous than consuming alcohol. They are likely to embrace some aspects of a new study that shows marijuana consumption has a relatively minor adverse effect on drivers, especially when compared to the effects of alcohol on drivers.

A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that marijuana use elevates the risk of a crash by about 5 percent. Compare that to the effects of alcohol, which quadruples the risk of an accident.

The legal threshold here in Colorado is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent. At that level, a driver is four times more likely to crash. If their BAC increases to 0.12 percent, they are 12 times as likely to be in a collision, researchers said.

We cannot be sure today if this study or future studies will result in changes in DWAI or DUI laws in our state, but we can be sure that law enforcement officials are going to continue to make arrests based on the statutes in the books now. Those laws enable officers to make DWAI arrests if the officer believes a driver is impaired to even the slightest degree by marijuana, alcohol or a combination of the two.

A DWAI can result in punishments that include jail, fines, community service, suspension of your license and more.

At Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C., we are proud to help clients in the Denver area defend their rights, their freedom and their ability to drive. We understand the complexities of DWAI and DUI law, and we know how to negotiate with prosecutors and how to defend our clients at court. Please see our DWAI page for more information about how we can help you.

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