As of October 17th, cannabis in Canada will be legal, except in driving time which has considered impaired driving.
Impaired driving usually focuses on people who have been drinking, however driving high is considered as impaired driving too. In 2017 there were about 69,000 impaired driving incidents across the countrcountry , which shows a decrease of 4% from last year. This number includes both alcohol and drug-impaired driving violations.
One in seven cannabis users have driven while under the influence of drug.
The National Cannabis Survey is a Statistics Canada initiative to track the impact of legalization of non-medical cannabis. So far, the results suggest that of the survey respondents who are cannabis users with a driver’s licence, one in seven have driven within two hours of using the drug.
The risk may be even greater now that the federal government has approved a roadside drug screening device that can detect the presence of THC in a person’s saliva. THC is the main impairing component in cannabis. Previously, police had only the Standardized Field Sobriety Test and Drug Recognition Expert Evaluation to rely on.
However, new federal laws have been implemented that highlighted the levels of unacceptable THC for driving under traffic laws. These laws came into force on June 21, 2018;
- A fine of up to $1,000 if you’re caught driving with 2 nanograms (ng) of THC per millilitre (ml) of blood but less than 5 ng.
- A mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 if you have more than 5 ng of THC in your system.
- A mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 if you have 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood along with 2.5 ng of THC in your system.
Along with these fines, a person convicted of impaired driving will also likely lose their licence for a year. For repeat offenders or drivers who cause bodily harm or death while behind the wheel penalties are more punishing.