Marijuana users are more likely to say it’s acceptable to drive while stoned if they’re asked the question while high, a new study finds. Researchers surveyed 865 marijuana users in Colorado and Washington who said they had used marijuana or hashish in the past 30 days. More than 16 percent said they were high at the time they completed the survey. Those who were high at the time of the survey were more likely to believe it was safe to drive while under the influence of marijuana, to say they might drive high in certain situations, and to claim they would not get caught while driving high.
The RTI International study was published in the May issue of the journal Health Education Research. “When people are sober, most acknowledge they can’t safely drive under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. The problem is, being intoxicated affects our perceptions of risk,” study co-author Jane Allen said in an RTI news release. “The public health community would do well to address this in campaign planning and development,” she added. Future research should assess the effectiveness of different types of public education messages meant to discourage driving while high, the study authors suggested. In the past decade, nearly half of U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational uses, and at least other 10 states are currently considering recreational marijuana ballot initiatives, the researchers said.