Rational adults know the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol. It stands to reason that anyone driving a vehicle should be clean and sober. But debate continues regarding the dangers of driving under the influence of THC - the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana cigarettes, vaporizers and THC-infused food products.
Although stoned drivers likely pose danger on the road, we have no way of quantifying the threat. Data regarding charges and convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs are combined under the one impaired driving statute.
Advocates of legalized marijuana sold the idea on a promise we would all be safer if state authorities regulated sales and consumption, placing it under the spotlight of public scrutiny.
Toward that end, state Rep. Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, is working on a bill for the 2016 legislative session that would facilitate state tracking of marijuana-related driving offenses.
"The motivation is really to be able to have a real discussion with real numbers and real data," Keyser told The Gazette's Megan Schrader. "If this is a problem we definitely need to address it, but right now we can't even say if it's a problem."
This is not a pro-marijuana or anti-marijuana proposal. It is a common-sense idea that should have support of proponents and opponents of Colorado's controversial marijuana experiment.
Joining Keyser in drafting the bill is State Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont - an outspoken pot-legalization advocate.
"We want to be able to pinpoint what public safety issues are out there related to impaired driving and whether that's alcohol, prescription pills or marijuana, or some combination of all those things," Singer told The Gazette. "It's important for the public to know what the real public safety risk is and that way we can fine tune our approaches at the state level."
It is astonishing we don't already know the transportation dangers posed by Colorado's marijuana free-for-all, which has failed on most promises of bringing regulatory order to chaos. This proposed bill could be one small step in the right direction.