Since legal sales of recreational marijuana got underway on January 1, state agencies have made a big push in regard to so-called stoned driving. Witness the Colorado Department of Transportation's "Drive High, Get a DUI" campaign, which features a series of public-service announcements with a light touch.
Data revealing the scope of the problem has been hard to come by, as we've been reporting for months. But this weekend, we got anecdotal evidence from a Larimer County checkpoint that driving under the influence of alcohol remains a much, much larger issue than does its drug-related counterpart.
Between 10:55 p.m. May 9 and 2:30 a.m. May 10, according to the Fort Collins Police Department, the FCPD, working in conjunction with the Larimer County DUI Task Force, hosted a DUI sobriety checkpoint as part of CDOT's ongoing efforts.
Participating agencies also included the Colorado State Patrol, the Larimer County District Attorney's Office, the Loveland Police Department, the Colorado State University Police Department, the Estes Park Police Department, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and assorted health facilities in Poudre County.
During the period in which the checkpoint was operational, 1,572 vehicles were contacted, resulting in 22 arrests.
Of those busts, twenty of them were for either driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired, with one more made for minor in consumption.
In addition, law enforcers cuffed one individual for possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia by a person under 21.
Were any of the DUI and DWAI arrests for marijuana? Typically, such matters are referred to as DUID or DWAID, with the last letter in each acronym standing for "drugs." Be we wanted to make sure the two offenses hadn't been lumped together -- and a Fort Collins police spokesman confirms that, to his knowledge, 21 of the 22 arrests were alcohol-related.
Since these figures are from a single checkpoint, they can't be more broadly extrapolated; they qualify as anecdotal. But in this case, alcohol arrests led marijuana busts 21 to one -- and the single exception involved underage possession, not driving under the influence of cannabis.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
We'll continue seeking out more numbers related to the alcohol and drug-related DUIs. In this instance, however, there was no comparison.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Marijuana archive circa January 13: "Marijuana: Are new pot smokers an even bigger danger when they drive high?"