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To toke or not toke in Colorado: That is the question

If you're one of many young adults, over age 21, who use marijuana as a recreational pastime, the state of Colorado welcomes you to do so while you're here. Recreational use of the drug has been legal in this state for several years. Unlike Jackson Browne's famous lyric of being a "midnight toker" suggests, you no longer have to slink around after dark when you fire up a joint. Whether this is a good or bad thing remains hotly debated throughout the nation.

Driving, smoking and other things

There are possible legal ramifications if you decide to drive after you have smoked marijuana. Further information regarding this particular topic is covered a little later in this post. In the meantime, it bears repeating that there are varying opinions as to whether marijuana adversely affects your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Some interesting facts on this subject include the following:

  • Studies show driving under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana may increase your chances of being involved in a car accident.
  • Conflicting data exists, however, as to whether driving after smoking small amounts of marijuana actually impairs your ability to drive.
  • Interestingly, the effects of alcohol and marijuana on drivers appears to act in opposite ways - marijuana does not seem to impact many of the skills that are impaired by alcohol.

Regardless of what the latest polls may suggest, you are within your rights to engage in marijuana smoking while attending college, working, visiting or living in Colorado Springs or other state regions if you are of legal age to do so. Before participating, you'd undoubtedly want to be aware of the various laws and regulations that govern this activity.

Beware the skunk smell and other factors

Although recreational use of marijuana is legal throughout the state, there are several governing factors of which you'll want to be aware if you plan to engage in such activities, such as the fact that neighbors bothered by the smell may call the police, which can lead to complications. Here are a few of the other factors:

  • Five nanograms: If this amount of active tetrahydrocannabinol is present in your blood during a traffic stop while you're driving, you may face charges for impaired operation of a motor vehicle.
  • Police observation: The law allows a police officer to base your arrest on "observed impairment," which is essentially a "one person's word against another's" situation.
  • Federal priorities: The federal government has asked state regulatory systems to keep several priorities in mind when allowing recreational use of marijuana. You may want to learn more about this to avoid potential problems.
  • Refusing chemical tests: If you refuse to submit to a chemical test when requested by a police officer who has pulled you over, there may be automatic repercussions to your decision. Seeking legal clarification before refusing is always a good idea.

The best means for avoiding trouble with the law is obviously to educate yourself ahead of time and do your best to act within its constraints. Reality doesn't always unfold that way, however. So, it's best to know where to turn for support if an urgent need arises.

When a Colorado police officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, the law protects you with the right to request criminal defense assistance. It is true that anything you say or do at that point may later be used to incriminate you. By acting alongside experienced representation from the start, you may increase your chances of obtaining a positive outcome if you end up facing charges for a marijuana-related crime.

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