Cocktails and Cannabis: CDOT’s guide to a safe holiday season

Traffic Safety Pulse News

A house lit up with Christmas decorations and lights at nighttime. Text overlay is, "Cocktails and cannabis. Your ultimate guide to getting home safe this holiday season."

The holidays can be a time of indulgence and excess — family gatherings, work parties and special nights out with friends. It is a time to max out your belt loops and enjoy a few of the more intoxicating pleasures — eggnog, holiday cocktails and perhaps a little cannabis. But, even if you are taking it easy, one cocktail or craft beer plus a hit of flower or half a gummy can impair you enough to put you at risk of a DUI.

So, here is CDOT’s ultimate holiday guide to getting home safe.

Potency is a tricky thing

Edibles, tinctures, flower, dabs, topicals, oh my! Even though all products in Colorado have THC content listed on the packaging, dosing, product, method of consumption, the amount of sleep you’ve had, what you’ve eaten, etc. all affect how impaired you get. So, don’t assume you’re good to drive even if you’re conscientious about your dosing. Why take the risk?

Use the tools at hand

Have you heard of personal smartphone breathalyzers? Well, they’re a thing. CDOT has worked for years to equip people with personal breathalyzers as part of its Heat Is On campaign. The devices provide an estimate of your blood alcohol content. But if you’ve been consuming cannabis as well, you can be under the legal limit of both and still be impaired enough to get a DUI. Combining substances can significantly amplify your level of intoxication.

Just say no

And no, that’s not what we mean. Just say no to that 900th holiday party you were invited to and take the opportunity to relax and imbibe at home. Then you have no worries at all. Except maybe about how you’re going to get to the kitchen without missing your favorite part of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Choose a side, any side

Combining cannabis with alcohol amplifies the intoxicating effects of both. So, maybe just go with one or the other. Either way, we still recommend you always find a sober ride to your surely festive destination.

Timing is everything (or nothing)

Alcohol is metabolized by your body at a predictable rate, so it’s possible to calculate when you’re going to be sober enough to drive home. Cannabis, on the other hand, is much less predictable. It could take up to eight hours for the impairing effects to wear off — for edibles in particular. So “waiting it out” may be a strategy that does not work.

How much do you really know about cannabis and driving?

An amazing plant to be sure, but in our experience, people have a lot to learn about cannabis sativa, indica and everything in between — especially when it comes to the laws, science, history and physiological effects of the plant. Think you know it all? Take our quiz to find out. Really want to become an expert? We’ve partnered with Learn Brands, an online budtender education platform, to teach budtenders and anyone who’s interested more about cannabis impaired driving.

Psssst … what’s the best way to save money this holiday season?

Hint: It involves not having to spend more than $13,000 on a DUI. That’s how much it can cost with all the associated fines, legal fees and more. Whether it’s alcohol, cannabis or a combination of both, DUIs have more than just a human cost.

Protect what you love

Of course, the most important things in the world are your friends, family, partner and your own health and well-being. Banter aside, CDOT, safety advocates and law enforcement officers statewide are doing everything they can this holiday to try to educate and protect you from the potential of experiencing a serious injury or death related to impaired driving. This holiday season, please choose to never drive impaired. And encourage all of your loved ones to do the same.