CDOT, cannabis industry work to stop people from driving while high

DENVER -- On Jan. 1, 2014, Colorado changed the meaning of Rocky Mountain high when sales of recreational marijuana became legal.

The opportunity for legal cannabis commerce did not escape Shannon Brooks.

She and her husband own eight marijuana dispensaries in the Denver metro area called Lightshade.

She said business is great. Marijuana sales in Colorado are a $1 billion industry. There are more dispensaries than Starbucks.

In 2016, 77 people died in car crashes with active THC in their blood. That’s almost half the number of alcohol-related deaths.

“People just don’t talk about driving high the way they do about drunk driving," Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Sam Call said.

That attitude, he said, is a problem.

“We just want people to drive high less," Call said. "And we won’t get there unless we have additional partners at the table."

That’s why CDOT has teamed with the marijuana industry to create a conversation about cannabis.

Colorado’s legal pot sellers are at the table, but there still might be a few empty chairs that need to be filled by the people who get high and then drive.

An online survey about the issue has been set up.