SPOKANE, Wash. - With recreational marijuana stores set to open early July, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission is sending a message to motorists that if you drive high you'll get a DUI.
The WTSC is sending that message using some subtle humor by airing three television commercials produced by the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado being the first state to legalize marijuana. The goal is to combat high driving and the commercials play off some stereotypes.
One of the three commercials plays off the stereotype, if you're high you might not be as good at basketball as you think you are. The commercial starts with a guy getting ready to shoot a free throw. He takes so long that his friends are starting to look put out. The caption on the screen reads, 'Playing ball high is no legal.' The commercial ends with the caption, 'Driving to see the pros play afterwards isn't.' But the ultimate message here is, 'Drive high. Get a DUI.'
Another commercial shows a man trying to light a grill. To his dismay it doesn't seem to be working until he figures out he forgot the propane. Once again the message, if you're high don't drive to get a new tank.
"Procedures are still the same. Troopers are looking for drivers that are under the influence," said Washington State Patrol Trooper Jeff Sevigney.
Every state trooper is trained to spot someone under the influence, be it alcohol, marijuana or something else.
"We see a lot of folks that are impaired by glue, by paint, by prescription and non prescription medications," said Sevigney.
The 'Drive high get a DUI' message coinciding with summertime DUI emphasis patrol kicking off July 1 and the opening of retail marijuana stores.
"The bottom line is don't drive while you're impaired we don't want anybody to lose their life while on the roadway," said Sevigney.
Smoking marijuana is only legal on private property. Recreational users can have up to an ounce.
"We recommend that you don't carry it in your vehicle because if I smell marijuana in your vehicle I'm going to instantly make sure nobody is impaired while they're driving," said Sevigney.
You can face the same charges for driving high as drinking and driving. Fines for a DUI can be up to $5,000.