Marijuana’s 4/20 celebration increases fatal crashes

Even if you’re not a marijuana user, you may know that the drug is associated with 420. Legend has it that a group of teens calling themselves the Waldos from San Rafael High School in California would meet at 4:20 p.m. before heading out to the woods to search for a fabled patch of cannabis. From there, the term went to the Grateful Dead and into the cannabis magazine High Times and on into popular culture.

And now 4/20—April 20—is recognized as the official marijuana holiday. How is it celebrated? This may come as a total shock, but it’s celebrated with weed. Thousands gather every April 20 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, while smaller groups gather around the country celebrating the day. Sounds like good, clean fun. Or is it?

New study shows consequences of 4/20

Canadian researchers looked at 25 years of fatal crash data from the U.S. Taking the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes from 4:20 p.m. to midnight on April 20, they compared it to the same time frame from a week earlier and a week later. The researchers discovered that the risk of a fatal crash was 12 percent higher on 4/20. The risk was significantly higher—38 percent higher—for drivers under 21 years of age.

Current New York marijuana law

Other than medical marijuana, marijuana and synthetic equivalents are considered to be Schedule I hallucinogenic substances under New York Public Health Law. That means it is illegal and you will face penalties if you are caught with the drug. New York’s marijuana penalties are based entirely on the weight of the amount possessed. If you’re caught with a smaller amount, you’ll likely face lesser penalties than if you have larger amounts in your possession.

New York drugged driving

If you operate a motor vehicle in New York while your ability is impaired by the use of a drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol, you are guilty of a DUI. A first offense will get you a fine of no less than $500 up to $1,000, or jail time up to a year and a six-month license revocation. Second and third offenses ramp up the fines and penalties from $1,000 to $10,000 and jail time to ten years. Your license will be revoked for a minimum of one year.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs

A conviction can alter your life. With the loss of your license, fines and potential jail time on the table, getting expert legal help should be your first step. An experienced defense attorney can explain your options and work to minimize your potential consequences.