A Detox Facility in Colorado Sees Rise in Marijuana DUI Admissions
In the six months after recreational marijuana was legalized and began being sold in Colorado, many drug crimes charges have decreased, but the state has seen an increase in marijuana DUI, or DUID.
The Arapahoe House, a detox facility in Colorado, says that they have seen a spike in admissions to their facility for marijuana DUI charges. Art Schut, CEO of the Arapahoe House, said in an interview that marijuana patients used to be a small number of those admitted, but they are becoming a noticeable part of the program, especially for DUI arrests.
“There’s this perception that I’ve used a little bit so it’s okay. And, just in general, if you’re a driver you shouldn’t use anything,” he said.
Many people perceive DUI as a charge specifically related to alcohol. However, DUID, or driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, is also illegal. Colorado laws state that a driver can be charged with a marijuana DUI if they have 5 nanograms of active THC in their bloodstream, which the Colorado Department of Transportation determined to be the equivalent of 0.08 blood alcohol content, the legal limit for alcohol consumption.
Schut said that this time of year in 2013, 112 people were admitted to the Arapahoe House for detoxing related to marijuana DUI. This year, 197 people have been admitted for marijuana DUI.
“This percentage increase is significant because recreational marijuana legalization is in its infancy, and there has clearly already been an impact on public safety,” Schut said. “Our hope is that this new data will create awareness so that if Coloradans choose to use marijuana, they do not get behind the wheel.”
The Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center added that they have seen an increase in calls related to marijuana ingestion, especially by children.
The Arapahoe House monitors intoxicated drivers brought in by police officers. Staff keep an eye on the patients until they are sober enough to get home safely, usually after a family member picks them up.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Marijuana DUI, or DUID, Charges
Although South Carolina legislators recently legalized one form of medical marijuana, marijuana use for any other reason is illegal, and a DUID or marijuana DUI can have very serious charges. The penalties for a conviction of driving under the influence of drugs are identical to the consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina. If you are pulled for driving under the influence of prescription drugs or medication, you may be asked to submit to a screening test in which your urine is screened for the presence of drugs.
If you face DUI charges, whether it is your first charge, or felony DUI, you may feel alone and afraid. Being charged with driving under the influence of illegal drugs does not automatically mean that you are guilty or that the prosecution does not have to prove its case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have helped people facing DUI charges since 1996. We offer free, confidential consultations. Contact us for help today. 803.252.4800