You may wonder why AAA Colorado is interested in marijuana policy and legislation. It’s none of AAA Colorado’s business if someone wants to smoke marijuana, or drink alcohol, or take prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Those are personal choices. It becomes AAA Colorado’s concern when these personal choices include getting behind the wheel on Colorado’s roadways while impaired by any of these substances. Impaired driving puts all of us at risk, and costs us more money, as increased crash rates lead to higher medical and auto insurance rates.
Recreational marijuana use becomes legal in Colorado on Jan. 1 – joining Washington as the first two states to legalize, regulate and tax small amounts of marijuana for recreational use by individuals over age 21. Marijuana’s known effects include altered consciousness, perceptual distortions, drowsiness, impaired memory and impaired coordination. Each of these effects has potential to impair your ability to drive. The top five things both residents and visitors need to know about recreational marijuana use include: 1) Selling marijuana without a license remains illegal. Purchasing marijuana from someone who does not have license to sell it is also illegal. 2) Giving marijuana to someone under 21 is illegal and a serious crime. 3) Marijuana cannot be smoked or consumed “openly and publicly” – on public streets or in parks. 4) Marijuana purchased in Colorado cannot legally be taken out-of-state. 5) Operating a motor vehicle while impaired is illegal. And the most important message from AAA Colorado: Please do not drug or drink and drive. Help keep our roads safe for all users.
Tony DeNovellis, president and CEO, AAA Colorado