Keeping kids and roads free of marijuana still a focus for police |

Keeping kids and roads free of marijuana still a focus for police

— During the first year of legalized pot sales in Steamboat Springs, police issued more tickets to people who were younger than 21 and suspected of possessing marijuana.

In 2014, 48 tickets were issued compared to the 33 tickets issued in 2013.

“Certainly, I think one of our objectives as a law enforcement agency is trying to keep it out of the hands of kids,” Steamboat Police Chief Joel Rae said.

Rae said his department will continue to monitor the number of people given tickets for marijuana possession, especially the number of tickets given to youth younger than 18. Rae said, from 2009 to 2012, between 12 and 16 tickets were given each year to juveniles.

Numbers compiled by the police department show only a slight increase in the number of people arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. There were 11 people arrested in 2014 and eight arrests in 2013.

“The arrests are not going through the roof,” Rae said. “Our efforts are still focused on keeping it out of the hands of kids and keeping our roads safe.”

In 2014, eight citations were issued to people for publicly consuming marijuana.

“I certainly don’t think it’s running rampant in our community,” Rae said. “We certainly want to continue to send the message that we don’t want people smoking it in public, and if you do, you are going to get a ticket.”

In 2014, the Colorado State Patrol began tracking citations that specifically involved marijuana.

“It was not until 2014 that the CSP began to track marijuana separately from other drugs,” CSP spokesman Rob Madden said in an email. “We are fortunate to have our 2014 data as it will allow us to be proactive in documenting the changes that we will begin to see from year to year.”

The 2014 CSP data showed:

  • 5,546 citations were issued for DUI/DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) driving actions
  • 354 citations were issued for DUID driving actions where marijuana was the only indicator.
  • 674 citations were issued for DUI/DUID driving actions where marijuana was one of the indicators.
  • The 12-month average for citations related to marijuana was 12.2 percent of the total DUI/DUID citations.
  • January, April and December were the three highest months for citations involving marijuana usage as a percentage of the overall DUI/DUID citations issued.
  • 75 percent of the 2014 DUI/DUID citations issued were the result of proactive motorist contacts.

CSP has trained more than 540 troopers in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement, or ARIDE. There are 61 troopers who have received more advanced training and are considered drug recognition experts.

Most Steamboat officers have received the ARIDE training.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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