Marihuana y Manejando—Cannabis Outreach in the Latino Community

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As part of CDOT's goal to conduct statewide outreach and engagement with key stakeholders associated with The Cannabis Conversation campaign, two Denver-based Hispanic-serving organizations—Clinica Tepeyac and the Jefferson Center for Mental Health—have partnered with CDOT to ensure that voices from within the Latino community are also being heard, related to marijuana and driving.

Four community conversations were convened in April, with a goal of gaining a deep and actionable understanding of Latino perspectives on marijuana use and impaired driving in an effort to inform future marijuana-impaired driving prevention campaigns. Likewise, Spanish-preferred Latinos have been responding to requests to complete an anonymous online survey about their opinions and behaviors related to marijuana and driving.

As within the general population, the campaign seeks to understand why some marijuana users choose to drive high, what the public perceives as the dangers of doing so, and how campaign partners can more effectively address the situation. Both marijuana users and non-users were encouraged to participate in the process.

Many of the concerns and questions expressed were similar to the general market, including:

  • People who drive high are putting themselves—and others—in danger.
  • Why don't we have a roadside test for cannabis impairment like we do for alcohol?
  • How do people know if they really are impaired?

On the other hand, many of the Latino participants observed that, in their opinion, Colorado's quality of life has been impacted negatively by the legalization. Likewise, parents expressed a need for additional information designed to help them start a meaningful conversation about impaired driving with the teens in their households.

By and large, the majority of participants mentioned that while they recall seeing a variety of "don't drink and drive" messages, there have been less frequent mentions of "don't drive high," particularly in Spanish media. Participants strongly encouraged not only CDOT, but also Hispanic-community-serving organizations, to increase the availability of information and the frequency of marijuana-impaired driving messages to keep this important conversation top-of-mind for adults in Colorado!