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CHP: Increase of high drivers in Monterey County

By Ricardo Navarro, Reporter, Ricardonavarro@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Jan 10 2014 08:40:00 PM CST
(img17)1.9.2014 Capitola Bans Large Marijuana grows

SALINAS, Calif. -

More medical marijuana cards, mean more people are lighting up the marijuana in the Golden State. Law enforcement on the Central Coast says this also means more people are getting high, then hitting the road.

"We are experiencing an increase in non-alcohol-related DUI's," said Officer Jaime Rios.

Rios said CHP arrested 80 drivers under the influence of drugs last year in Monterey County. That's more than previous years.

"We have seen that, in this county, people who are under the influence of marijuana or prescription drugs become involved in vehicle accidents with vehicles and deaths," said Rios.

Last January, CHP said a woman was high when she caused a seven-car crash on 101. Francisco Miranda is facing murder charges after police said he hit and killed two women in Salinas in November. Miranda was allegedly high at the time.

CHP officers warn marijuana can impair your driving like alcohol but, "it is different then testing for alcohol."

Amanda Reiman with the California Drug Policy Alliance said that's why marijuana needs to be regulated. She said under prohibition, there's no control. But Reiman said these numbers shouldn't be alarming, she said it doesn't mean there are more high drivers, but that CHP is now looking for that.

"There is no particular set limit right now for marijuana; however, we could see changes in the future," said Rios.

CHP said the common misconception is that medicinal marijuana cards make it OK to drive.

"Just because you have the card, doesn't mean you can drive a car," said Rios.