California Pulls Drugged Driving PSA Over Concerns It Promoted Marijuana Use

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

California nipped an ad about driving high in the bud, pulling it from the airwaves after some called it controversial, according to KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento.

Although the message was meant to discourage drugged driving, it begins with the characters in the commercial explaining why they need medicinal weed and enjoy recreational pot.

After the drug's use for treating ailments such as anxiety and cancer are cited, one man says, "I just like it," before another adds, "Ok, I love it."

Some worried the way the message was delivered could encourage more people to start smoking, especially now that the drug can be obtained without a medical recommendation.

The California Office of Traffic Safety told KTXL they "are cognizant and share the concerns expressed over certain elements of the ad" and "will continue to refine and improve (its) messaging."

Drugged driving ads created by the Colorado Department of Transportation that are centered on the same "drive high, get a DUI" messaging take a different tone, showing humorous situations in which being high is legal, before reminding viewers that driving high is still not.

Sacramento-area resident Frank Barbosa said he noticed drugged driving becoming a problem when weed was only recreationally legalized. "So, I’m thinking now they’ll probably do it even more,” he said.

But another local resident, Theresa Pierce, said preventing drugged driving is a matter of individual responsibility and not related to why marijuana is used.

"People need to chill, is what I say," she told KTXL. "Seriously.”

Pierce said she has lived through decades of chronic pain after breaking her back 28 years ago. Before pot, she got by with "sheer will."

“If they are responsible then they won’t drive if they become impaired,” Pierce said.

The Office of Traffic Safety issued this statement regarding the ad:

"The Office of Traffic Safety is committed to informing people about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We are cognizant and share the concerns expressed over certain elements of our most recent ads. As a result, we will continue to refine and improve messaging as we move forward.

In the meantime, we are using an ad that was produced last year as part of our 2017 DUID campaign.

The points remain the same - drive high and you can get a DUI."