SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Law enforcement officers will be out in full force Friday as San Diegans celebrate the so-called “marijuana holiday” known as 4/20.
Numerous 4/20-themed festivities and events are scheduled to take place across the county, including the “Bayked by the Bay” concert at Embarcadero Marina Park.
But while San Diego celebrates, law enforcement officials are warning the public that officers will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. Officials want to remind anyone choosing to partake in a 4/20 celebration that strict laws remain in place, even if marijuana is legal in California.
“People may or may not, because it's legal, think, ‘Hey, I can use it, I can do it anywhere” … and the rules still apply, just like alcohol. You can't take alcohol in public areas, you can't have it open in your car. Same rules apply to marijuana,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Jake Sanchez.
Sanchez said anyone celebrating 4/20 should plan ahead about rides home, and not when they’re already under the influence.
Officials say the risk of being killed in a vehicle crash on 4/20 is 12 percent higher. For those under 21, the risk becomes 38 percent higher.
Drivers pulled over for being under the influence of marijuana will face DUI charges, much like a driver under the influence of alcohol would.
Businesses also doing their part to inform the public
A Tierrasanta coffee shop is one of several local businesses that are reminding people about the dangers of driving while high.
Industrial Grind Coffee (6020 Santo Rd.) is putting sleeves on their coffee cups Friday with a message: “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze”.
Shop owner Crystal Jones said, “The risk of people under 21 being killed in a car crash on 4/20 is 38 percent, so that's even higher than everybody else. It's an issue that's not talked about enough so we just want to be here to support the community and make it a safer place.
Statistics show driving under the influence of THC is associated with decreased car handling performance, slower reaction times and impaired ability to estimate time and distance.