DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation and Mothers Against Drunk Driving plead with Coloradans to not get behind the wheel on April 20. The day is an unofficial holiday for marijuana consumers.

In 2020, Colorado State Patrol says officers arrested 90% more drivers who were impaired by a combination of marijuana and alcohol compared to the year prior.

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CDOT and MADD says there was an 18% jump from 2019 to 2020 of people killed by a suspected impaired driver in Colorado.

Ethan Small, 27, was hit and killed in 2019 when he drove into an intersection, with a green light, and was t-boned by a driver, with a red light, suspected of being impaired by marijuana, narcotics and alcohol. The driver was traveling at 90 mph.

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“You cannot imagine what it’s like to lose a child especially to a reckless act that was 100% unnecessary and preventable,” said Polli Small.

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“We’ve surveyed close to 20,000 cannabis consumers on the issue,” said Sam Cole, CDOT communications manager. “And while many know that driving high is illegal, they still don’t understand how dangerous it can be to combine marijuana with alcohol. We hope these stories, told by real Coloradans, will change some minds and encourage people to find alternatives to driving impaired.”

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Budtenders across the state will wear masks on Tuesday, April 20, reminding people not to drive high. They will also share information about how to stay safe.

Danielle Chavira