What about Marijuana and Driving?

A Hempfest® Gut Check​

Researchers have found that marijuana is used safely, responsibly, and healthfully by many.

So, What’s The Big Deal About Driving? 

Many of us know people who are absolutely certain that they can drive safely after getting high. You can read a study about cannabis and driving here.

You’ll hear them saying: “I’ve done it lots of times and never got into an accident. Anyway, I’m really careful.”

The fact is that sometimes they’re right. They’ve driven while high and nothing bad happened.

But, here’s the deal. The same thing is true for some people who drive after drinking alcohol. Some of the time they make it home without having an accident.

And then there are the times when a driver who has been drinking causes an accident, sometimes with people getting killed, because the skills they needed were impaired.

The same is true for pot. Driving high increases the risk of accidents.

Why? It’s because driving while high can cause impairment such as:

  • Lane weaving
  • Slower tracking of events
  • Divided attention
  • Slower reaction time

And combining pot with alcohol makes these risks of causing an accident even greater.

It’s a dilemma. If you’ve smoked a lot of pot, you’ve probably developed tolerance to some of its effects.

And, if you’ve driven while high without having any problems, why not continue to do so?

You’re going to make your own decisions. Just don’t be fooled by people who say driving high is no big deal.

Want to know more? Check out this University of Washington website for more information.

Here’s the bottom line:

NORML, the national advocacy group for legalizing pot, says: “The responsible cannabis consumer does not operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery while impaired by cannabis.”

Give yourself a safety margin. If you’re going to drive after getting high, wait for 3 or 4 hours.

Don’t let anyone convince you to get into a car driven by someone who’s high or been drinking.

Don’t roll the dice with your own life. We want to see you next year at Hempfest!



Written by Dr. Roger Roffman, professor emeritus, UW School of Social Work.

Check out this University of Washington website for information about various topics, video education, FAQs, and more: