With several medical marijuana dispensaries now open for business, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and state and local law enforcement are warning Florida drivers, “Drive Baked, Get Busted.”
Since the recent legalization of medical marijuana, the Florida Legislature passed a law which entails the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to receive $5 million in funding to implement a statewide driver safety campaign.
“The (“Drive Baked, Get Busted”) campaign aims to educate Florida drivers of the dangers and laws of impaired driving, especially marijuana,” said Alexis Bakofsky, the deputy communications director of FLHSMV.
The campaign has hit Gainesville streets with billboards posted near medical marijuana dispensaries in town and TV ads on local channels.
The local impact generated by the campaign has Gainesville Police reiterating to drivers that any form of impairment can constitute a DUI, said Capt. Jorge Campos, the GPD patrol support bureau commander.
“I’m gravely concerned with traffic crashes or people getting hurt from marijuana,” he said. “Widespread use of marijuana is not as much as alcohol, but it’s still there.”
He warns that driving under the influence of marijuana can lead to impairment by decreasing motor function, reaction time and balance.
Florida Highway Patrol Chief of Public Affairs Capt. Tom Pikul said drivers suspected of using marijuana are given a DUI field sobriety test requiring them to perform physical tasks that indicate impairment.
This includes walking in a straight line heel to toe, standing on one leg and following a moving object horizontally or vertically to test for nystagmus, a jerking motion in the eye that occurs under any form of impairment.
For more information on the campaign visit flhsmv.gov/drivebakedgetbusted.