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Initiative 300 may be setting you up for a drugged driving charge

Initiative 300 could open the door to marijuana use being allowed in any Denver restaurant, bar or business. The Denver Post reports that this may not be a good idea for Colorado, because it could lead to an increase in drugged driving. Drugged driving threatens everyone including the driver, passengers and pedestrians walking on or near the roads.

Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, marijuana-positive driving-under-the-influence tests have been coming back confirmed more often than in the past. In fact, the number of driving under the influence of drugs charges have doubled since legalization. It's believed that initiative 300 could make this problem worse for the community on the whole.

What's so different about allowing people to smoke in public places or businesses compared to smoking marijuana at home? It's not the act of smoking alone. When marijuana and alcohol are combined, which could happen in bars or restaurants, a person's level of impairment increases beyond the point that he or she would reach using one substance or the other. The combination of substances increases the risk of a car accident significantly. It's believed that including edibles made with marijuana in Initiative 300 would be a bad choice, since those who eat or drink marijuana are meant to wait at least eight hours before they get behind the wheel.

On top of this, Initiative 300 would allow for outdoor and indoor smoking and vaping. In both situations, the public and workers at these businesses would be exposed to second-hand smoke and have the potential for being tested as positive for marijuana when driving, even if they had not used it directly.

As DUIDs become more common, it's fair to ask why looser regulations would be allowed. Without informing the public of the potential for more serious consequences if you combine drugs and alcohol together, it's setting some individuals up for crashes, injuries or even fatal accidents. If you're stopped after smoking marijuana, you may be able to defend yourself by indicating that you were exposed to secondhand smoke or ate an edible hours before. Both may be good defenses against allegations of being intoxicated if you are otherwise capable of driving safely.

Source: The Denver Post, "Initiative 300 is too much and too risky for Denver," Rachel O'Bryan, Oct. 22, 2016

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