California voters went to the polls in 2016 and each voiced their opinion, and the opinion was to make the recreational use of cannabis legal in the state. Proposition 64, which was the bill to legalize recreational cannabis, was made into law effective in November 2016. The first recreational marijuana dispensaries opened on January 1st, 2018. Since that time, law enforcement has paid particular attention to DUIs involving recreational marijuana, utilizing federal grants to train law enforcement officers in recognizing cannabis impairment. They have also made federal grants available to prosecutors specifically for prosecuting and preventing DUI incidents.
The Davis Enterprise reports on the efforts of Yolo County in preventing and prosecuting DUIs.
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced on Friday, October 11th that the county had received a $194,975 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The grant funds will be utilized to fund its DUI program, which was formed in 2012.
The program focuses on DUI prosecution and outreach as well as law enforcement training. The overall goal of the program is to reduce DUI incidents, which will lower the instance of DUI-related traffic accidents leading to injuries and fatalities.
The prosecutors involved with the program will prosecute the most serious and complex DUI cases, beginning at arrest and following through to sentencing.
The program also focuses on training law enforcement officers to recognize DUI and investigate the charges. Close to 1,400 law enforcement officers in Yolo County have been trained through the grant.
Another aspect of the program is to prevent DUI. Yolo County is doing so through youth-outreach programs that focus on education. By reaching out to local high schools and universities through Greek organizations and the Yolo County Citizen’s Academy, they hope to impress upon youth the dangers of DUI, particularly marijuana DUI. Currently, 34% of California youth believe that marijuana does not impair the ability to drive.
The grant was made available to the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.