CDOT ‘Cannabis Conversation’ Gets Users Talking
If you’ve been reading a lot about a state survey of Colorado residents’ attitudes and habits related to driving and using marijuana, it should come as no surprise. The Colorado Department of Transportation wants it that way.
The department has been either unintentionally conducting the most-public, wide-open demographic survey ever, or it’s really more interested in getting across the point loudly that smoking pot and then driving is dangerous.
More than 11,000 Coloradans have taken the survey since it launched in February, among them 7,698 marijuana users and 3,722 non-users, CDOT says. It warns that the survey isn’t based on a representative sample of Colorado residents. The continuing campaign is targeting marijuana users through Facebook ads, public meetings, and public outreach efforts, and is also encouraging non-users to contribute.
You can take the survey and read the preliminary results of the survey/publicity campaign, The Cannabis Conversation, on its Web site and you can even watch participants interviewed by CDOT on YouTube. CDOT will issue a comprehensive report in summer 2018.
Pot User Survey Yielding Some Shocking Results
You may wonder how the mainstream marijuana users who supported legalization of recreational usage in 2012-2014 feel about the opinions of today’s users.
- 69 percent of cannabis users surveyed have driven under the drug’s influence at least once in the past 12 months.
- 27 percent said they drive high almost every day.
- 40 percent of recreational users said they don’t think being under pot’s influence affects driving safety.
- 34 percent of medical users, too, said it doesn’t affect their driving.
- 69 percent know that if you drive while high, then you can be charged with DUI.
- 50 percent of the pot users said they use less of the substance when they know they’ll need to drive somewhere.
- 35 percent of non-users have been the passenger of a driver who was high on marijuana.
- 55 percent of non-users who had ridden with a driver who was high said they were worried at the time.
- 31 percent said they were annoyed.
- 25 percent said they were angry about it.
In conducting the campaign, CDOT is emphasizing the public danger of driving while high and is encouraging users to partake more responsibly.
In 2016, the agency said, 51 people died in Colorado auto accidents involving a driver with more than the legal limit of the intoxicating form of marijuana’s chemical derivative, THC.
The agency noted some common issues arising during the campaign’s public meetings. Some called for better research and testing for marijuana impairment and said legal marijuana dispensaries should play a central part in teaching users about the laws and the danger of driving after using.
Sam Cole, the CDOT communications manager, said:
“What this information tells us is that Colorado still has a lot of work to do in order to change behavior. … CDOT has been successful in raising awareness about the laws and consequences of driving high, but now our big focus is on how we can turn that awareness into action and increase safety on our roadways.”