For its research, CDOT launched The Cannabis Conversation, a two-year study aimed at providing the Department with new strategies, messages, and solutions to better connect with cannabis consumers and encourage wise decision-making regarding cannabis use and driving.
The study concluded in late 2019.
To gain crucial insight and learn how to more-effectively personalize its messaging, outreach, and education, CDOT studied the perspectives and self-reported behaviors of more than 18,000 Coloradans who participated in public meetings, detailed surveys, and focus groups
“We talked online and in-person to thousands of marijuana users across Colorado,” says CDOT traffic safety communications manager Sam Cole. “We learned how different groups of people respond to different types of messages—and will use that knowledge to try to influence people to make smart choices. After all, there is no ‘typical’ marijuana consumer.”
According to study participant data, more-frequent cannabis users considered driving under the influence of marijuana to be less dangerous
While driving high is normalized for many cannabis users, most of those surveyed indicated that they still take other factors into consideration before getting behind the wheel, such as travel conditions, their alertness, and how long they feel they should wait to drive after consuming marijuana.
Because of many cannabis users’ skepticism of current laws and policies surrounding marijuana-influenced driving, study participants indicated that they want more research on detection methods as well as guidelines for self-assessing their impairment, how long to wait before they drive, and dosage-based legal limits.
The majority of respondents said that current messages and advertisements tend to overstate the dangers of driving high, stereotype cannabis users, and can be unrealistic.
According to CDOT, cannabis users have a better appreciation for Public Service Announcements (PSA) and advertisements with straightforward approaches, honest tones, and come across as a friend reaching out rather than a parent lecturing.
CDOT is currently developing a series of PSAs based on information from “The Cannabis Conversation” and concepts chosen by the public.