In 2012, Colorado voters overwhelming approved a difference to a state’s constitution that allowed the sale and private consumption of marijuana for recreational use. Sales began in 2014. Since then, their state has issued greater than 2,900 marijuana business licenses, 481 which went to retail dispensaries. As a result, jointly media outlet described, Colorado has more pot dispensaries than Starbucks, McDonald’s, and 7-Eleven locations combined.
But while it’s legal to eat, it remains illegal to operate a vehicle while ingesting marijuana. Tragically, several drivers seem to be ignoring can are putting lives vulnerable by smoking and driving. If you’ve been injured in the vehicle accident as a consequence of an impaired driver, a personal injury attorney can assist.
Fatal Accidents within the Rise
According to analysis by The Denver Post, the volume of drivers linked to fatal vehicle accidents who then tested positive for marijuana has jumped each and every year since legalization. Higher amount drug may also be appearing in drivers who tested positive. Last year, in a single extreme example, one driver tested at 22 times the legal limit for marijuana.
From 2013-16, Colorado experienced a forty percent spike in how many traffic fatalities overall, hitting 880 recently, in accordance with numbers through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The data also reveals that alcohol-related fatalities have been about the rise, climbing 17 percent. The amount of drivers who tested positive for marijuana, however, jumped nearly 150 percent, and after this make up ten percent of all fatal auto accidents.
While officials are quick to indicate that this dramatic rise in marijuana-related traffic deaths can not be tied conclusively to legalization, the numbers are disturbing.
“Unlike alcohol, THC [the active component in marijuana] usually stay detectable inside the blood stream for many days or weeks, when any impairment wears off within hours,” Taylor West, former deputy director in the National Cannabis Industry Association, told The Denver Post. “So dozens of numbers really show is that, since legal adult-use sales began, a larger volume of people are consuming cannabis and after that, sooner or later… the worry.”
Testing is often a Problem
That’s the challenge facing state and local governments. Cannabis use is skyrocketing, but police are still struggling to find a method to definitively test drivers. There’s no marijuana breathalyzer or blood test that police may use to test drivers. There are tests that pay attention to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, but there isn’t any universally accepted standard that indicates who’s going to be actually impaired, regardless of the frantic efforts of scientists to find out one.
Colorado runs on the THC blood test that police are able to use to reveal what’s generally known as “presumed” impairment. Permissible inference is determined at five nanograms of THC per milliliter. Alcohol in time breaks down quickly within the body, rendering it easy to try for. THC, around the other hand, can linger much longer within the body. In fact, heavy users who then avoid marijuana can certainly still test positive 30 days or more later.
At least two private companies are researching breath detection devices, but scientists estimate they’re time away from striking the market. As a result, Colorado has started training its officers of what to look for during traffic stops when deciding whether a person is impaired.