LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A day following 4-20, the unofficial holiday for pot users, law enforcement was out in force making sure people weren’t driving high.
“Taking advantage, definitely yeah,” said Tre Wilson.
He’s visiting from Atlanta where recreational marijuana use isn’t legal.
Wilson told KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen that while he’s in Southern California – two things don’t mix — weed and taking the wheel of a car.
“When I’m under the influence, I really don’t like driving at all,” said Wilson.
The LAPD wanted to stress that point during the 4-20 weekend during a series of sobriety checkpoints.
DUI arrests related to pot have been on the rise since January when recreational marijuana use became legal in California, according to defense attorney Kevin Moghtanei – who specializes in DUIs.
“I get phone calls every day. I get emails, tweets. People asking friends, and colleagues even in different practice areas, what’s going on with these marijuana DUIs?” said Moghtanei.
This issue may be new to California but a recent survey among 11,000 anonymous Colorado marijuana users found 69 percent said they have driven high in the last year.
In addition, 10 percent believe they drive better when they are high.
For now, testing for marijuana impairment is complicated. It’s not an exact science like a blood alcohol test.
Much of it is at the discretion of a police officer who uses traditional tests like walking a straight line.
“We adjust as we grow as a society,” says marijuana smoker Tait Fletcher.
Colorado is in the middle of a pilot program looking into an oral fluid testing device for pot.
In the meantime, defense lawyers and police say just because recreational pot is legal – it doesn’t mean the long arm of the law will have a hands-off approach when it comes to DUIs.
“Courthouses are clogged. The arraignment courts are double in size. Half the people are just from marijuana DUIs,” says Moghtanei.
Defense attorneys say a DUI can cost you between $5-10,000 in court and legal fees.