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Deputies and marijuana sellers warn against driving while high

Legal marijuana raises DUI concerns
Posted at 6:39 AM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 09:39:13-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Marijuana sellers---and law enforcement are teaming up on an important issue. These are legal marijuana sellers. They and Pima County Sheriff’s deputies want to be sure no one ingests marijuana and drives.

The weekend coming on adds to concerns about driving under the influence. Now that small amounts of marijuana are legal, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and members of the legal marijuana industry want you to remember driving under the influence of marijuana is still driving under the influence.

An arrest for driving under the influence does not depend on what you were under the influence of. It could be alcohol, a medication legally prescribed for you or marijuana. The issue is did whatever you ingest affect your ability to drive safely?

Pima County Sheriff’s Sergeant Clint Enderle says, “Marijuana is an impairing substance that affects people's perception, time and distance, which are very important things when someone's driving a motor vehicle.”

Tests similar to the field sobriety test for alcohol can help deputies determine if marijuana made someone too high to drive.

Sergeant Enderle says, “Check the person's eyes, checking their balance and coordination are all applicable as well, but other signs that we look for these things like dilated pupils, muscle tremors.“

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has posted a video public service announcement warning drivers not to drive under the influence of marijuana.

The alcohol industry urges it’s customers to consume responsibly and not drink and drive. Now members of the legal marijuana industry have a similar message.

Matt Cerepanya of NatureMed Marijuana Dispensary says, “We just want to make sure that everyone is safe, everyone gets home, everyone comes back and visits us again.”

And the industry is timing that message now because it’s almost April 20th----4/20 in Marijuana culture.

Cerepanya says, “It's kind of like our industry's Christmas. It's a tradition that's been around the industry for a while. The biggest sales of the year usually happen that day.”

And they expect high consumption to follow. There’s debate over why 4/20 is a special day to marijuana users but it is and it’s a day when marijuana sellers and law enforcement want to be sure those users don’t get behind the wheel.