LONE TREE, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado seems to be the center of the world when it comes to legal marijuana, and this week hundreds of law enforcement officials worldwide descended on Lone Tree to talk pot.
As more places take steps to follow Colorado’s lead, one of the biggest concerns is the problems linked to pot edibles. Ahead of that is how to stop people from driving high. It’s an issue law enforcement in Colorado has learned a lot about in the past year.
“There is no doubt there is more use and more people coming in to the state to use that drug,” Avon Police Chief Robert Ticer said.
The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police put together the three-day marijuana summit. The goal is to share with other states and countries the lessons learned from Colorado’s first year after legalizing recreational pot.
Highway safety was a burning issue on Monday.
“If you’re going to use marijuana, don’t drive,” Ticer said.
Ticer says since legalization pot related DUIs have risen dramatically in Colorado with sometimes deadly results. He says there are no hard numbers yet, but his department has learned pot can be as dangerous as alcohol for drivers.
“Distorted time and perception, reaction time is lessened, less ability to focus and concentrate,” he said. “They can be impaired for up to three, four hours minimum.”
This year the Colorado Department of Transportation will train drug recognition experts to identify pot impaired drivers statewide. New laws may also be in the works to change the 5 nanogram THC limit for drivers.
Fairbanks Deputy Police Chief Brad Johnson came from Alaska to attend the summit. His state will legalize recreational pot next month.
“We’ve got a lot to learn in a short time. This is a great opportunity for us,” Johnson said.
Law enforcement officers say if nothing else comes from the summit, they want to send a stern message when it comes to stoned drivers.
“If you drive high you will get a DUI.”