- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Marijuana was a factor in 12 percent of DUI citations issued on Colorado highways in 2014, the first year recreational pot sales were legal in the state, authorities said Friday.

The first study of its kind in the state will help the Colorado State Patrol monitor trends in the future, patrol spokesman Josh Lewis said.

For now, though, authorities have no comparison numbers.

“For all we know, these have doubled or tripled over previous years,” Lewis said.

State patrol officers issued 5,546 citations for driving under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of drugs in 2014. Marijuana was at least one of the factors officers noted in 674 of those cases.

Lewis said releasing the statistics was an opportunity to remind the public that it’s illegal to drive while impaired, whether by alcohol, marijuana or another legal or illegal drug.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford said the figures showed the need for her department’s “Drive High, Get a DUI” education campaign. A department study found that 21 percent of recreational marijuana users don’t know it’s illegal to drive while impaired by marijuana. she said.

Washington state found that more than 1,300 drivers tested positive for marijuana in 2013, almost 25 percent more than 2012.

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