DENVER – The 420 Rally is drawing visitors from across Colorado and across the country.
Richard Paredes and his friends traveled to Denver from Naples, Fla. “It’s breathtaking,” he said. “The liberty, the people, the environment. It’s honestly just incredible.”
Paredes said people are not allowed to openly smoke marijuana in his hometown.
In Colorado, it’s against the law to smoke marijuana in public, but it has become almost a tradition for many people to do so during the 420 Rally at Civic Center Park.
“We can assume a lot of people here today are under the influence,” said CDOT spokesman Sam Cole. “It is truly frightening, the number of marijuana users who think it’s safe to drive when high.”
Cole said CDOT’s survey shows nearly 50 percent of the people think it’s no big deal to drive while high.
“They don’t understand that you lose your peripheral vision when you’re high,” he said. “You lose your reaction time and you lose your perception of times, distance and speed when you’re high while driving.”
CDOT partnered with Lyft to help provide discounted rides to rally participants who may be under the influence of marijuana.
Lyft’s Denver General Manager told Denver7 they had 17 cars outfitted with special artwork for the occasion.
“We want people to understand that driving while high is dangerous,” Gabe Cohen said.
The Lyft GM said his drivers see the effects of people who are “under the influence.”
“We’ve seen them especially around alcohol,” he said, “but with alcohol there’s really been decades of public awareness campaigns that have helped create that attitude for safety.”
He said the attitude isn’t as strong when it comes to marijuana.
“You see confusion (on social posts) about whether this is an issue,” he said. “You see some people sort of feel like it’s not that big a deal.”
Cohen said that’s why Lyft is participating in the CDOT campaign.
“We want people to know that driving while high is also dangerous,” he said.
Cole said CDOT is always looking for unique ways to get the safety message out to drivers.
He said they’re using miniature 420 mile markers for the Rally.
“Fifty to 100 will be placed around 420 On the Block this evening,” he said. “People who find them can cash them in for a discount on a Lyft ride home.”