There has been a drastic change in the types of DUIs that officers have been issuing in the past few years, according to several Arizona law enforcement officials.
Police officers indicated that the increase might be due in part to the fact that drivers think that if they have a medical marijuana card they can drive under the influence.
Marijuana still impairs driver’s judgment and is still illegal to smoke and drive.
Mesa Police Commander Bill Peters said, “I think it’s scary, I think it’s scary for our community.”
He’s afraid that for the first time drivers are being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, rather than alcohol.
He blames prescription drug abuse and medical marijuana.
According to Peters, drug-related DUIs have gone up over the years, but spiked in 2010 during the medical marijuana debate.
In Mesa in 2009, 35% of DUI arrests were drug-related. In 2011, it was up to 52% of all DUI arrests.
Peters also said that medical marijuana use was not the only thing to blame, but also prescription drug abuse in general. He thinks that the problem will only get worse as prescriptions become more readily available and laws hurry to catch up.
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