I Love You Bud | CDOT takes heartfelt approach to address cannabis-impaired driving

Traffic Safety Pulse News

Partnership with Native Roots Cannabis Co. surprised customers with safety valentines

The Colorado Department of Transportation is breaking away from traditional Valentine’s Day chocolates and flowers to send a message that could save lives. On Valentine's Day, CDOT partnered with Native Roots Cannabis Co. to launch a memorable promotion for customers at the Native Roots Speer Boulevard location. Lucky patrons received decorative artificial marijuana plants adorned with Valentine’s-themed safe-driving messages. To further promote safety, Native Roots waived cannabis delivery fees on Valentine’s Day to encourage would-be impaired drivers to stay home instead of getting behind the wheel.

Valentine's Day giveaways at Native Roots, stickers read "love you, bud" and "lovers don't let others drive impaired"

According to CDOT data, traffic fatalities involving drivers above the legal limit for cannabis are increasing. Although alcohol is the most common cause of impairment-related crashes, drivers who tested above the 5 nanogram limit for active Delta-9 THC increased from 50 drivers in 2020 to 79 in 2021.

“Dispensaries and budtenders are among the most trusted influencers when it comes to information about cannabis and driving,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. “Our industry partners share CDOT’s goal of keeping people safe on and off the road. This collaboration provides a creative outlet for sharing vital information.”

The eye-catching artificial marijuana plants included messages for consumers to protect their loved ones. Customers were asked to share who they stay safe for to be eligible for a plant. The promotion was intended to help educate consumers about the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving and also includes valentines cards available at statewide Native Roots locations encouraging drivers to make safe choices for themselves and their loved ones.

“Responsible consumption and reducing cannabis-impaired driving is a shared priority for the industry and the communities we are grateful to serve,” said Native Roots Policy & Public Affairs Manager Liz Zukowski. “We’re proud to collaborate with CDOT to help encourage our customers to be safe and make sensible choices that keep loved ones and others out of harm’s way.”

Impaired driving deaths increased to 278 last year, up 6% from 2021. But since 2019, those deaths involving an impaired driver have risen by almost 60%. Combinations of drugs are also a problem — 25% of the impaired drivers in fatal crashes last year had more than one substance in their blood, with alcohol and cannabis the most common co-occurring substances.

"Cannabis delivery is a convenient way to ensure responsible consumption and reduce the risk of impaired driving," said Michael Diaz-Rivera, owner of Better Days Delivery and a social equity licensee and delivery partner with Native Roots. "With a growing demand for delivery services, especially during special events or challenging weather conditions, it makes it easy for our customers to enjoy cannabis without putting themselves or others on the road at risk."