With the legalization of marijuana spreading through several states in recent years, transportation officials have wondered about the potential for problems with drugged drivers on the nation’s roadways. Bet they didn’t have this in mind.
Stoners are stealing milepost signs from “420” mile markers in several Western states. Officials in Colorado, Washington, and Idaho tell the Associated Press those mile markers have been consistently vandalized and stolen from interstates. In some cases, the problems have cropped up with such regularity the mileposts aren’t being replaced. Instead, state officials are instead posting “419.9” mileposts at the appropriate distance.
Pot enthusiasts are also having problems near the “420” mile markers. In a hilarious coincidence, a Montana state trooper pulled over a motorist driving erratically along that mile of Interstate 90 in May 2014. During the traffic stop, police found 115 pounds of marijuana, reports The Missoulian.
States like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have relaxed marijuana laws in recent years, which is one reason such incidents have occurred in the West. Another reason is simple geography. Western states are among the few large enough to contain interstates that stretch for 420 or more miles.
As for the more serious problem of drugged driving, transportation officials are still sorting out the ramifications of legalization and researchers are still studying how the relaxed laws have affected accident rates and traffic deaths. Early studies of the issue have largely been inconclusive, The Washington Post reported last year.
In many cases, the law hasn’t caught up with drugged driving. All 50 states have drunk-driving laws on their books, but only 19 have per se laws that forbid the presence of prohibited drugs in the driver’s body, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. States without such laws include Colorado, Oregon, Montana, California, and Washington.