Theres an old joke that says no one ever got in a bar brawl while stoned they were too busy sitting on their couch laughing to even get to the bar in the first place. But while using marijuana may seem safer than drinking in some regards, driving is not necessarily one of those times. Driving while under the influence of psychoactive drugs is both unsafe and illegal, even in states where recreational or medicinal marijuana use has been legalized. Marijuana impacts perception, attention, reaction time, and judgment, which all in turn can negatively impact a persons driving performance. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, After alcohol, THC is the substance most commonly found in the blood of impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims.
On the other hand, NORML also published a review of the research on marijuana use, and they conclude that, Marijuana has a measurable yet relatively mild effect on psychomotor skills, yet it does not appear to play a significant role in vehicle crashes, particularly when compared to alcohol.
No matter the case, its important to understand that in Colorado, for example, a driver will be fined a DUI when the THC content of their blood is 5 ng/mL or higher. Even if the drug is prescribed medicinally, the impacts on executive functioning are the same and therefore a user can still be charged.
The CO Department of Transportation also notes that officers are trained Drug Recognition Experts to understand the physical signs of drugged driving.
Luckily, Colorado has a program in place to offer a $20 credit to first time users of Lyft or Uber using the codes CDOTRideSafe and NODUICO, respectively. So even if you do decide to head out to the bars while high, you can do so without ever having to think about driving. Don’t forget, you can save even more money with smokin’ deals at dispensaries near you!