Colorado made headlines as the first state to legalize marijuana in the U.S. in January of 2014, and, so far, the results of letting people buy weed with impunity have been largely positive: Marijuana sales in Colorado have brought in so much tax money that the state might actually have to return some of the pot revenue to its citizens, and, despite fears that legalizing marijuana would cause an increase in crime, violent crime rates in Denver, where most of the state’s dispensaries are located, have decreased in the last year. However, although the legalization of weed hasn’t caused civilization in Colorado to crumble, as some naysayers predicted, weed is still weed, and people still need to be careful about when and how they use it. In March, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) released an ad campaign to encourage marijuana users to practice basic safety measures and stay off the roads while high. The campaign’s message is simple: Getting high is now legal in Colorado — driving high is not.
The CDOT ads show people who are high on marijuana doing benignly ridiculous things, like trying to grill without a propane tank or mangling a TV installation. They make the point that, while it’s OK to smoke weed and make a fool of yourself in Colorado, you’re still not allowed to smoke and drive. The ads strike a perfect balance of education and entertainment: While their message is serious, the ads themselves are hilarious. CDOT seems to have recognized that going all “fire and brimstone” about the dangers of marijuana would only alienate recreational pot users, opting instead to include them in the joke, essentially saying, “Ha ha, we’ve all done stupid things like this, and wasn’t it hilarious? No, but, seriously, don’t drive high.” The dangers of driving while under the influence of marijuana are real: According to CDOT, “Marijuana affects reaction time, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, concentration and perception of time and distance.” Under current regulations, driving with more than 5 nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component of pot) per milliliter of blood in your system will earn you a DUI.
According to the ads, here are some of the things you’re allowed to do while high in Colorado (even if doing so means you’re more likely to embarrass yourself):
DIY television installation
The amount of things you could add to this list is extensive, including:
- Roller skating
- Frolicking through a meadow
- Making soufflé
- Snorgling a kitten
- Performance art
The only thing that you really, really can’t do while high is operate heavy machinery, like a car or a wrecking ball. And perform surgery. And anything involving fireworks. And any kind of home demolition. OK, so there are a lot of things that you should not do while high. Exercise some common sense, friends. Stay off the roads and be safe.