Marijuana: How state officials define responsible pot use during 4/20 celebrations

Governor John Hickenlooper recently compared adult marijuana use to drinking a beer in the afternoon. But the State of Colorado isn't treating the products equally in advance of the annual 4/20 events taking place this weekend. We don't recall officials cautioning about the use and abuse of ale leading up to the Great American Beer Festival -- but they've just released a warning-filled salvo about pot complete with links to a state website dominated by more cautionary notes. "State Officials Caution the Public About Responsible Marijuana Use During 4/20 Celebrations" was put out by the Colorado Department of Transportation, but it references plenty of other agencies, including the departments of Public Health and the Environment, Revenue, Human Services and Public Safety, as well as the Governor's office. Among its bulleted reminders:
• 21+, No Exceptions. You must be age 21 or older to buy, possess or use retail marijuana. And it's a felony to give or sell recreational marijuana to minors.

• Drive High, Get a DUI. It is illegal to consume marijuana on public roadways, and any amount of marijuana use can put you at risk for a DUI. There is an open container law for marijuana. It must be sealed and not in the passenger area of a vehicle.

• Keep it in Colorado. It is illegal to take marijuana across Colorado state lines. And Denver International Airport prohibits possession, use, display and transfer of marijuana on its property.

• Not in Public, Please. Marijuana cannot be consumed in public. This includes indoor and outdoor restaurants and bars, concert venues, sidewalks, parks, schools, playgrounds and sporting venues.

• Keep Kids Safe. Avoid use of marijuana, in any form, around children. To avoid accidents, all marijuana-containing products should be clearly labeled, stored in a child-resistant container and locked in a cabinet.

Also linked is the official State of Colorado Website for Retail Marijuana Information & Resources, which boasts a finger-wagging tone similar to the one found on the City of Denver's pot site. The landing page includes graphics like this....

...and this.... links to items such as a test to determine if you're using too much cannabis. We've included it below.

In the meantime, Colonel Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, emphasizes in the release that troopers will be on the lookout for anyone who climbs behind the wheel stoned.

"Similar to other major events, law enforcement will be out in large numbers ensuring that the public is complying with our new laws," Hernandez is quoted as saying. "For example, Colorado has nearly 215 law enforcement officers highly trained in the detection of impairment by drugs, including cannabis. And their main goal is to keep impaired drivers off our roads."

That presumably includes drunk drivers, too. Here's a 9News video in which Hickenlooper compares marijuana to beer, followed by the state's "Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test."

Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa December: "Denver's official marijuana website: Welcome to the world of 'No!'"

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts