Native Roots releases cannabis-impaired-driving survey results and encourages drivers to make smart choices

When it comes to cannabis, what are the driving and consumption habits of folks in Colorado?

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Native Roots, a Colorado vertically-integrated cannabis dispensary with 20 locations across the state, set out to answer just this question. Sales and consumption increase leading up to the 420 holiday, and Native Roots and CDOT are using survey insights to encourage customers to make safe choices and find alternatives to driving high.

Survey results showed many ways that dispensary customers are being responsible, but also revealed problematic behaviors. For example, 41% of respondents reported a varying likelihood of driving while under the influence of marijuana. Native Roots is taking steps to reduce this risk.

Dispensary customers were randomly selected at 10 Native Roots locations and asked to participate in a survey. In return, respondents received a penny joint. The 520 survey respondents, who were anonymous but confirmed Colorado residents, offered a clearer picture around their habits:

  • 41% of respondents may drive while under the influence of cannabis, with 11% indicating they were “very likely”, 8% responding “probably”, and 22% indicating that they would drive while feeling the effects of cannabis depending on the amount consumed.
  • Some consume while driving, with 15% reporting having consumed cannabis in a vehicle or on a scooter or bicycle.
  • Some regularly travel with drivers who are under the influence of cannabis, with 12% indicating they rode with someone who had consumed cannabis once every day or two, and 10% indicating they rode with cannabis-impaired drivers once a week.
  • Respondents primarily use cannabis daily. 71% of respondents reported using cannabis products at least once a day, with one-third indicating they use cannabis products more than once a day. Only 13% indicated they use cannabis products once a week or less.
  • They aren’t big fans of combining alcohol and cannabis. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents indicated they “almost never” or “never” consume alcohol and cannabis at the same time. Only 4% of respondents indicated when they consume cannabis they also always consume alcohol. 32% indicated they sometimes consume both. 2019 data (the most recent data available) from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice indicates cannabis and alcohol are the most common co-occuring substances in impaired-driving crashes (43%).
  • People use multiple modes of transportation to stay safe while consuming. 56% indicated riding with a designated driver who was sober. 43% indicated using a ride share service such as Uber or Lyft, and 32% indicated they chose to walk. When consuming at home or at a friend’s home, one-third indicated they wouldn’t go anywhere. This behavior is most pronounced among infrequent users who use cannabis less than once a week.
  • They don’t like traveling in a car with someone who has consumed cannabis. 71% of respondents indicated they “almost never” or “never” ride with a  driver who has consumed cannabis.
  • Respondents are more likely to opt for safe driving habits than not. 59% of respondents are “not very likely” to drive a vehicle after consuming. 19% indicated they were “probably” or “very likely” to drive a vehicle while feeling the effects of cannabis. Less frequent cannabis users are more likely to make safe choices, with only 2% indicating they were likely to operate a motor vehicle while feeling the effects of cannabis. 
  • Knowledge of the law varies based on frequency of consumption. When asked if they could get a DUI even if they were under the legal limit of alcohol or cannabis, 76% of daily cannabis consumers answered correctly. That number dropped to 62% with less than weekly consumers.

When considering these results, please note that the sample size is not representative of the entire state. A significant portion of the sample is from the suburbs, which may under-represent younger cannabis users. 49% of users in urban areas are 18-29, whereas only 39% of cannabis users in the suburbs are 18-29. The sample population also skewed heavily toward men under 40, which comprised 43% of the total sample. Therefore, there is not a great deal of difference between men under 40 responses and the overall sample.

Data from CDOT indicates the highest prevalence of DUI arrests involve men younger than 40. 

In addition to sharing survey results, Native Roots is encouraging customers to make good choices by:

  • Offering free cannabis deliveries. Customers can avoid driving altogether with a free cannabis delivery during business hours April 16-22. Delivery is only available in the Denver area. 
  • Getting budtenders talking about safe driving. Native Roots budtenders are in the process of completing the CDOT Cannabis Impaired Driving Course and are ready to help you make a safe plan.
  • Including safe-driving messaging on every customer receipt.
  • Distributing keychains with safe-driving messaging. 

Native Roots and CDOT encourage all cannabis consumers to plan ahead. Designate a sober driver, use a rideshare service, take public transportation or walk. 

Happy 420! Please celebrate responsibly. 

This article is a guest post authored by: 

Liz Zukowski, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Native Roots Cannabis Co.