High Driving Targeted

New cannabis industry means new public safety messages

A new safe-driving ad campaign targeting cannabis users rolled out Friday, the first day New Mexico’s industry expanded from medical sales to use by any adult over the age of 21.

The Department of Transportation’s broadcast television and social media public service announcements crafted by RK Venture can’t decide if they want to be funny or threatening—maybe they’re a touch of both.

In the 60-second version of “Excuses,” which features actors portraying driver interactions with State Police officers, a woman with dreamy eyes tells the officer, “I feel like we met here for a reason tonight,” and another tries to will away the officer with a song. Check out two versions of the spot:

Meanwhile, “Impact” portrays a guy who’d been hitting a bong and decides to leave his house, only to crash head-on into a pole.

The state also plans to post billboards with the message “You’re too drive to high” and a more straightforward “Say Goodbye to High Driving.”

Unlike Washington and Colorado, New Mexico doesn’t have a legal driving limit for THC in the blood. Rather, the state relies on a blanket approach to all drugged driving: “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle to drive a vehicle within this state,” reads the relevant statute.

That level of impairment is left up to the discretion of police officers known as Drug Recognition Experts, who are trained to identify individuals under the influence of drugs and whether someone is too high to be driving legally.

The new campaign is part of New Mexico’s “ENDDWI” program, only this time in black and green instead of black and yellow—as has been customary in the well-known anti-drunk-driving spots. State Police on Thursday issued a reminder about planned “sobriety checkpoints; saturation patrols; and registration, insurance, and driver’s license checkpoints in all New Mexico counties during the month of April 2022,” noting, “these checkpoints are helping to change society’s attitude about drinking and driving,” but didn’t mention cannabis.

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.