After passage of recreational marijuana bill, advocates raise concerns over stoned drivers | KOB 4

After passage of recreational marijuana bill, advocates raise concerns over stoned drivers

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: April 01, 2021 06:25 PM
Created: March 31, 2021 09:48 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With recreational marijuana legalization on the horizon, many advocates are voicing concerns about DUIs.

"It's absolutely a problem that we have people being killed in our state due to a preventable action,” said Lindsey Valdez, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving New Mexico.

"Whatever the impairing substance is, we want to be able to be a support for the family,” she added.

Valdez said New Mexico will face challenges in trying to keep the roads safe. 

"We are a very rural state. There's a lot of distance between cities. There's really not a whole lot of public transportation infrastructure in-place,” she said. 

According to a study from 2019, New Mexico has the fifth most impaired driving deaths per capita in the U.S.  Valdez added that preliminary data shows 139 New Mexicans died in 2020 due to impaired driving. 

So where does MADD stand on legalizing recreational cannabis?

"MADD does not have an official stance on the legalization of marijuana, either recreational or medical. We just really want to ensure—just as you mentioned— law enforcement have the tools to remove impaired drivers from the roads,” Valdez said.

Valdez wants to remind people that it’s not safe to drive while under the influence of cannabis. 

"People know that, yes, a substance will impair you and affect your ability to drive. So really making sure that that message is very strong,” she said.

A bill that will legalize recreational marijuana cleared its final hurdle Wednesday evening. It now heads to the governor’s desk.


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