So, who do you believe?
Chuck Smith, writing for Coloradopolitics.com in July, cited a few studies stating that not only have traffic accidents in Colorado not increased since recreational marijuana has been legalized in the state, they actually have decreased. He went on to say that there was an immediate decline in car deaths following legalization.
On the other hand, an NBC report said that in a study across 20 states where marijuana sales have been legalized, weed was detected at three times the rate in the bodies of dead drivers compared to those in the year prior to legalization.
Seems this argument has been going back and forth for years.
Maybe, in the infancy of legalization, there's not enough recognition of the effects of this drug.
In a joint press release, Colorado Department of Transportation and Lyft, the ride share company, announced this week that Lyft will give discounted rides to those who are high. It's called the 320 Movement, and they want Coloradans to "plan for a ride before getting high." Plan ahead, even though most who do get high don't believe it's an impairment.
"Despite the fact that marijuana impairs judgment, coordination, decision-making and reaction time," said Sam Cole, traffic safety communications manager for CDOT, "an alarming number of users - 55 percent - still believe that it is safe to drive under the influent of marijuana."
Seems oxymoronic to acknowledge that pot smoking impairs decision-making, while at the same time asking pot smokers to make the right decision and call for a ride.
But we do this every day with alcohol.
Perhaps the message will resonate with those 55 percent who are in a fog about marijuana's effects and for those who are around them and can make a difference.
This county loves to spend forward, at least lately it seems. Whether it's Streetscape, Ouray's pool, the school in Ouray or the courthouse.
My suggestion, when the courthouse is completed, is to show it off. Perhaps someone can give tours during the summer. Maybe a Friday morning and Friday afternoon tour. Put a value on it and charge a few dead presidents to take the tour.
Find a fat, one-eyed resident in the county to portray Rooster Cogburn and do a reenactment of the courthouse scene in the movie "True Grit."
The preservation of the history and heritage of the courthouse was touted as a reason to tax county residents to repair the building. Let's show it off.
So, here's the deal. When it's snowing and visibility is reduced, as it was Tuesday night with the snow, it's a good idea to slow down. When I saw the SUV in front of me hit a deer at top speed between Ouray and Ridgway, that was sad enough. The deer struggled to pull itself off the highway with only its front legs. The SUV ended up on the other side of the highway.
A car that passed just seconds prior flashed its lights several times. The SUV ignored the warning.
Hey, it's not summer anymore. Slow down. Drive according to conditions. And watch for wildlife.
Alan Todd is co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. firstname.lastname@example.org