CSP cracks down on high drivers during 420 celebrations

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT -- Colorado State Patrol troopers are cracking down on people driving behind the wheel while high.

Thursday, April 20, coined '420' in the cannabis community, was the unofficial pot holiday when many decide to light up.

KJCT News 8 reporter Carly Moore rode along with Trooper Dan Chermok as they stepped up DUI-D enforcement on April 20.

Chermok pulled over a couple drivers after finding probable cause. In two out of three traffic stops made, the drivers were sober.

But one didn't pass the test.

“Marijuana has a lot of indicators that are unique to itself. It wipes out short term memory, induces flutters or tremors in the eyes and body,” said Chermok.

For alcohol-related stops, troopers use a Breathalyzer test among other roadside tests. It's not too different when a driver gets pulled for over for DUI-D.

Drivers must consent to a chemical or blood test, if the officer asks for it, according to Colorado's express consent law. Licenses will be revoked if the driver denies taking the test.

Chermok took the driver through some roadside impairment tests. He said the three standard roadside tests are the same as the drunk driving test, but troopers are looking for something different.

“He [the driver] happened to be showing me multiple indications of impairment. The young man was 20 years old and had possession of marijuana on his person,” said Chermok. “This young man eventually admitted he had used marijuana earlier in the day. So I did place him in custody.”

Out of the three drivers arrested, this driver was the only one arrested for drugged driving.

“That's not an encouraging ratio for me but that's just a small snapshot,” said Chermok.

The sample size was small, but it was enough to make these sober drivers more cautious on the roads.

“I’ll be thinking about it more watching the people around me,” said Tyler Dillon, of Clifton. “I think it's really important to keep everyone safe.”

“I feel like he's doing his job, making sure everyone is doing his safe. When you know that someone is out here just keeping an eye on things,” said Noelani Alanis, of Grand Junction.

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