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The Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Drugged Driving: A Hazy Situation

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado has been a topic of national interest and scrutiny for several years now. One of the significant concerns that arose with the legalization of marijuana was the potential increase in drugged driving incidents and the associated risks of accidents on the road. However, despite being three years into legalization, the question of whether marijuana has significantly impacted road safety remains shrouded in uncertainty.

Colorado has been a pioneer in the realm of recreational marijuana legalization, serving as a model for other states considering similar measures. Consequently, different states have been closely watching Colorado’s experiences and adjusting their traffic laws accordingly to ensure that marijuana use does not lead to increased dangers on the road. Yet, the transition has been gradual, and the focus on detecting and testing drugged drivers has historically been centered around alcohol rather than marijuana.

Law enforcement officers undergo extensive training in detecting and testing drunk drivers, with a significant emphasis on alcohol-related infractions. It was only in 2014 that Colorado began measuring marijuana-related traffic citations accurately. It typically takes a minimum of two years to obtain precise statistics, making it challenging to provide definitive answers regarding the impact of marijuana legalization on road safety.

Furthermore, the issue becomes more complex when considering the categorization of marijuana-related DUI charges. While Colorado combines them under general DUI, some states that legalized marijuana, such as Washington, have distinct categories for alcohol and drug-related DUIs. Washington even employs a centralized toxicology lab for DUI testing results, offering the potential for a more comprehensive study of the effects of legalization on DUI rates.

Suppose marijuana posed the same level of danger on the road as alcohol. In that case, one might expect clear statistics to illustrate this. However, given the novelty of marijuana legalization and the variations in state approaches, making accurate statements regarding its impact remains challenging.

Having a seasoned team of Denver DUI lawyers is crucial in this evolving landscape. They understand how prosecutors pursue DUI cases and are well-equipped to navigate the complexities of Colorado law, ensuring the best possible outcome for those facing DUI charges.


In conclusion, the impact of marijuana legalization on drugged driving and road safety remains a complex and uncertain issue. While Colorado’s experience as a trailblazer in marijuana legalization is being closely observed, obtaining definitive answers will likely require more time and comprehensive data analysis. For individuals facing DUI charges in Colorado, seeking legal counsel from experienced professionals like Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, can be instrumental in navigating the legal process effectively.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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