CHP hosts summit on cannabis traffic safety as DUI arrests, injuries rise

DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- Recreational cannabis use has been legal for about nine months now in California and it's having a big impact on the roads.

The CHP says arrests and injuries from driving under the influence are way up.

RELATED: California cannabis businesses brace for new regulations
On Monday, the CHP hosted the Marijuana Traffic Safety Summit in Dublin. It brought together a couple hundred people from the law enforcement, medical and legislative communities.

"With the new marijuana laws and roadside impairment, we just want to make sure that all agencies are on board and everybody has the same knowledge," said CHP Spokesperson Officer Hannah Walcott.

Recreational cannabis use became legal in California on January 1.

CHP says since then, driving under the influence of marijuana arrests have increased 31 percent and injuries related to people driving under the influence of marijuana has increased 102 percent.

Officers say drivers under the influence of pot can show similar characteristics to a drunk driver, including weaving on the road and traveling at an unsafe speed.
The District Attorneys for Contra Costa County and Alameda County spoke to the crowd about the prosecution of cannabis-impaired drivers.

They say unlike alcohol, there is no legal limit for pot under California law and tests for it are often inadmissible in court.

RELATED: Job offer rescinded after woman tested positive for cannabis, only used lip balm

They say in the courtroom, they argue common sense in determining if someone is under the influence impairing their ability to drive.

"A lot of people think that they can drive high on marijuana and it'd be okay and it's not. I mean it does impair your judgement. It slows your judgement down and it people crash just like they would when they're drunk on alcohol," said Officer Walcott

And a reminder that you can get a ticket for having cannabis in your car just like an open container violation.

The CHP says it needs to be less than an ounce and in a sealed package in your trunk.

Here are more stories and videos related to cannabis.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.