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One month after recreational marijuana became legal, Kansas Citians still adjusting to change

Marijuana plant
Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 19:50:47-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One month in to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Missouri, many Kansas Citians are still getting used to the changes.

Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department Captain Corey Carlisle says the biggest change has come from behind the wheel.

"And they'll roll down their window and then a plume of smoke comes out," Carlisle said describing a recent stop.

"If you're operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana and your ability to safely operate that motor vehicle is impaired, you can absolutely get a DUI," he said.

Carlisle says he has seen a number of drivers who don't realize you can't drive high.

KCPD checks impairment with field sobriety tests, similar to the ones used to detect alcohol impairment.

Carlisle says they also use some new types of tests.

"We are also using technology such as SoToxa," he said. "SoToxa is an oral fluid testing instrument. That can be used to test in a saliva sample."

He says it's used in a similar way field breathalyzers are used.

But just as the technology and laws have changed, so has public perception of marijuana use in general.

"When it became legalized, I got less scared to talk about doing it. Just, even at work, what are you doing this weekend?," dispensary customer Garrett Holm said, "It's the same as like saying I'm going out for drinks with friends. Well I'm going to a dispensary, going to pick up some weed, go smoke a blunt."

According to Dan Viets, the Missouri Coordinator for NORML, records have changed

"The expungement of marijuana offenses. That has gone very well up to this point," Viets said.

Some people even say their lives have changed.

"I don't argue, I don't fuss no more, it keeps me calm," dispensary customer Marcus Simpson said, "If they'd have legalized weed a long time ago, there wouldn't be a lot of stuff happening now that is going on in this world now."