Reno Police say DUI marijuana arrests are up

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Drugged driving is a growing trend that has local law enforcement on alert. Now that marijuana is legal in the Silver State, Reno Police say they're arresting more people for driving under the influence.

"The fact that it's more readily available might contribute to that number," Tom Robinson, of RPD, says.

RPD says in 2014 there were 29 DUI marijuana arrests. In 2018 that number skyrocketed to 149.

Robinson says this number could be on the low side because when a blood draw is taken from a suspected DUI driver, the lab tests for alcohol first and if it is positive, the test stops there.

"They won't do any further testing and that's because first of all it's double the cost to test for drugs in blood and the second is the penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana is the same as driving under the influence of alcohol," he says.

Robinson says RPD now has four designated DUI officers. Prior to 2016 the department had two.

"We also trained all of our officers in 2016 on how to recognize drugged driving so that could have contributed to the increase in arrests," he says.

On average there are two DUI marijuana related fatalities per year in Reno. Unfortunately in 2016, that number jumped to seven.

"I mean there's so many options and alternatives from walking, ride sharing services, taxiing but for whatever reason people are still getting behind the wheel but we don't want that to happen because the consequences are literally deadly," he says.

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