April 20th is fast approaching. To most people, this is just another day. But for a certain segment of the population that enjoys recreational cannabis, 4/20 has a special significance. There has been a long tradition of associating cannabis with the number 420, so there will be many celebrations and events on that day. If you’re unfamiliar, a good analogy is the increase in alcohol consumption on St. Patrick’s Day.
With all the events scheduled around Colorado on 4/20, revelers won’t be the only people out in high numbers.
The police also know about the holiday, and will increase their presence on Colorado roads and highways in order to pull over drivers they suspect of driving under the influence. That means that you need to be extra careful about obeying all state regulations and making sure you have not over-consumed, as your chances of being caught will increase. If you are arrested for a DUI, immediately speak to a skilled attorney at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., to increase your chances of beating the charges.
What Are the Origins of 4/20?
There are a lot of myths out there about where the association between 420 and cannabis began. A common story that gets passed around is that it’s the police code for a marijuana infraction. (No.) Another bizarre explanation that sometimes gets mentioned is the Bob Dylan song “Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35,” because when you multiply 12 by 35, you get 420. Others will point out that Adolf Hitler’s birthday is April 20th.
However, none of these explanations are correct. According to Time Magazine, the true story dates to the early seventies at San Rafael High School in Marin County, California. A group of students began meeting every day on school grounds at 4:20 p.m. to smoke together, so they began using 420 as code when referring to cannabis. One of the students got a job as a roadie for Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, and that helped spread the use of the term. By the early nineties, deadheads were holding 420 celebrations, where people would gather at 4:20 on April 20th in order to light up.
Thus the tradition was born.
What Are Colorado Rules Regarding Driving Under the Influence?
Colorado, along with Washington, was the first state to legalize recreational cannabis on November 6, 2012, when Amendment 64 successfully passed as a ballot measure. Cannabis became legal to consume as of January 1, 2014, and new laws regarding the growth, sale, taxation, and consumption of the substance went into effect.
It should be noted that cannabis is still considered illegal at the federal level, and while there is rarely any enforcement within Colorado from federal officials, there is still a serious gray area, especially for federal employees who reside in Colorado. If you have reason to fear prosecution at the federal level due to legal consumption within the State of Colorado, you should immediately contact an attorney.
While legal to consume, it’s not legal to drive while under the influence of cannabis. As with alcohol, Colorado has very strict regulations when it comes to driving under the influence of drugs. Arrests and convictions can be a serious stain on a person’s record, and it’s important to vigorously defend yourself against such charges, because the consequences are severe.
The Penalties for Drugged Driving
The State of Colorado takes drugged driving very seriously. This is because in 2016, there were 77 fatalities involving a driver who was impaired by THC, the active intoxicant in cannabis. The efforts of state and local police have resulted in over 60 people being arrested each day in Colorado for DUIs resulting from drug or alcohol consumption.
Many people assume that it is more difficult to be arrested and convicted for a cannabis driving offense because the testing isn’t as prevalent or accurate as breathalyzers. Not true. Colorado police officers have been trained to look for signs of impaired driving. In fact, there a special category of law enforcement officers who have been trained as drug recognition experts.
According to Colorado law, drivers who have five nanograms of active THC in their bloodstream can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The lack of a valid roadside test means that officers base their arrests on observed impairment. Being charged with a DUI puts you at risk of steep fines, jail time, and other consequences. It is estimated that with fines and legal fees, a DUI can cost an individual over $13,000.
Furthermore, a conviction can result in the loss of your driving privileges and even the loss of your job. This is especially the case when it comes to federal employees, who are still governed by the federal prohibition against cannabis, despite it being legal in Colorado.
Because of the severe consequences for an arrest and conviction for drugged driving, it is imperative that you mount a vigorous legal defense. Don’t let your 4/20 be ruined. Timothy Bussey holds the ACS Forensic Lawyer-Scientist Designation in the state of Colorado, and his marijuana crimes defense attorneys at Bussey Law Firm, P.C., will do their utmost to aggressively fight any cannabis charges you might face. Contact us today at (719) 401-0585 to schedule a free consultation.