The topic of marijuana and driving is generating a very open, sometimes surprising discussion across Colorado. When asked, "Do you think driving high is an issue in Colorado? One person answered “I don’t think driving high is an issue in Colorado. I think out of state drivers are the bigger problem than people driving stoned." Several other marijuana consumers openly say they drive high all the time.
The Colorado Department of Transportation and marijuana industry leaders are teaming up for what they are calling a Cannabis Conversation. “For the industry it’s important to have a conversation about not only impairment, but education and consumption in general,” said Todd Mitchem who represents The Green Solution. The Cannabis Conversation is face to face forums as well as on-line information sharing.
"We are really blown away by the amount of very honest, very frank feedback that we’re getting," said CDOT’s Sam Cole. The straight forward answers help gather better information on marijuana use, attitudes, and perceptions about marijuana impairment. "This movement around changing behavior around how we drive and distraction will not happen without consumers being the driver of the narrative," said Mitchem.
CDOT and marijuana industry leaders say more scientific data is needed. The conversation is helping focus where studies need to happen. “Let’s work with these regulators, work with the government agencies to drive a narrative of safety and keep consumers and consumer protection at the top of the list," said Mitchem. So far around 12 thousand people have given responses to an on-line survey linked through the ColoradoCannabisConvo.com site. "By providing real data, real research will help inform everybody, from marijuana users to the department of transportation, to the industry," said Cole
Some early data on things like the number of deaths and impairment arrest related to marijuana are shown on the site. The site also provides information on current marijuana and driving impairment laws.