Colorado DUI charges dropped following the legalization of medical cannabis, and again following the legalization of recreational marijuana, according to state data.
According to data from Colorado Judicial Branch Annual Reports, there was a drop in DUI charges the year after voters in the state legalized cannabis. There was also a drop following the state’s legalization of medical cannabis in 2000. Prior to 2000 there was a multi-year drop in DUI charges from 1993 to 1998, but a substantial increase from 1998 to 1999, before the drop in 2000.
Since 2000, in 14 of the 15 years where data is available there has been a drop in DUI charges. The number went from around 1,000 per 100,000 people in 1999, to less than 800 per 100,000 people in 2001, the year following medical cannabis legalization. By 2011 the number had dropped to around 600, and by 2013, a year after the legalization of recreational cannabis, the number dropped to around 500.
In 2015, the last full year with data, the total number of DUI charges in Colorado was below 500.
Despite this data being quite promising, it’s always important to note that correlation does not necessarily imply causation, so the drop in DUI charges may or may not be associated with the legalization of cannabis.