El Paso County likely surpassed Denver with marijuana-involved traffic arrests – Colorado Springs Gazette
Even with just a single recreational pot shop to its 655,000 people, El Paso County likely had at least as many marijuana-related traffic arrests in 2014 as Denver – and maybe even more.
Colorado State Patrol kept special tabs on citations involving marijuana in 2014, the first year recreational marijuana was available for sale in Colorado. El Paso County had the fourth-highest number of State Patrol-issued citations, at 61.
Jefferson and Adams county were first and second at 83 and 80, respectively. Mesa County had 69.
CSP didn’t issue driving under the influence of drugs, DUID, tickets in Denver because the combined city and county’s police and sheriff’s departments patrol the streets there. Denver police arrested 66 people for DUID infractions involving weed – exactly double the number arrested the previous year.
The Colorado Springs Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office both said they don’t document marijuana DUIDs separately from other drugs. All the stats are lumped together, just as all drugs are lumped together under one statute.
CSPD issued 162 DUID tickets in 2014 – just a handful more than in 2013 – and EPSO issued 68.
The Sheriff’s Office issued 27 in 2013, before recreational marijuana was legalized in the state of Colorado.
The State Patrol issued 5,546 DUID tickets in 2014, and 18.5 percent of those involved marijuana, according to statistics released in January. In about 6.4 percent of the cases, marijuana was the only indicator in the drug and alcohol test.
If those percentages held true in El Paso County, about 40 of those 230 tickets issued by CSPD and the Sheriff’s Office in 2014 might have involved marijuana.
No one seems to have a good answer for why the numbers appear to be higher in El Paso County than in Denver. It could have to do with enforcement, such as where and how many CSP troopers are watching drivers at any given time.
The State Patrol’s county-by-county stats show higher numbers of arrests near major highway corridors – interstates 25 and 70 and U.S. 50 – and larger population centers, Lt. Scott Schwall, of CSPD’s Specialized Enforcement Division, wrote in an email.
“They may deploy more heavily in those areas,” he wrote.
Andreas Nilsson, educational director for iComply, which works on cannabis policy and regulatory affairs, said he couldn’t pinpoint the cause behind the balance in numbers, either.
Contact Kassondra Cloos: 636-0362
Twitter: @Kassondra Cloos