DENVER (CBS4) – People talk about pot in Colorado every day. Whether they’re buying it, using it, or getting a whiff of it while cruising down the road.
But a cannabis conversation inside a Denver recreation center Wednesday was a bit different.
The subject – driving high. It’s a big problem in our state and the reason why the Colorado Department of Transportation recently launched their multi-year safety campaign “The Cannabis Conversation.”
They want to talk with the public about the dangers of driving high, and why some think it’s okay to get behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana.
“For me, I feel like sometimes using cannabis doesn’t make me impaired, it actually makes me focused,” Alex Rubin, a regular cannabis consumer, said.
Rubin said he attended CDOT’s open house meeting at the Montclair Recreation Center “to just be a little more informed.” He told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann he uses cannabis every day and knows his limits.
As for if he’s ever used and then gotten behind the wheel…
“I know if I feel more stoney or more cloudy, I know that I probably should be doing anything cognitive,” Rubin explained. “But that doesn’t’ mean I should never use and then get under the wheel.”
But that is exactly what some marijuana companies, health groups and especially Colorado State Patrol – all who had Q & A booths at the meeting – say drivers shouldn’t do.
“It is not okay to drive a motor vehicle if you’re utilizing marijuana,” CSP Sgt. Rob Madden said to the small group who attended the meeting.
“They’re saying that any form of cannabis consumption is not okay, and if you’re using cannabis, you should never drive or do anything,” he said. “I think that is a little bit skewed in some ways for people who use cannabis every day.”
Rubin added that cannabis affects everyone differently, especially in the various ways it can be consumed. He said he is happy CDOT has launched a conversation around marijuana, but he thinks the focus should be on defining impairment.
“Where is that bar? Where is that line? I think an educational campaign from people or dispensaries that are selling the products is an important way to do it,” he said.
CDOT is continuing ‘The Cannabis Conversation’ in Fort Collins on Tuesday, March 27.
For more details and to take an online survey to weigh in on the issue, visit: https://www.codot.gov/safety/alcohol-and-impaired-driving/druggeddriving.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.