With cannabis now legal in Canada, police have their eyes out for high drivers.
Sgt. Steve Mancini of the Ucluelet RCMP said officers do not yet have roadside devices to test for cannabis, but will rely on field-sobriety tests to determine if a driver has consumed marijuana.
“We have members that are trained in drug recognition evaluations that we can utilize to determine whether somebody is impaired,” he said. “The RCMP is B.C. will have a strategic limited roll-out of approved drug screening equipment that will be deployed in consultation with our provincial and municipal partners.”
Under Canada’s Criminal Code, drivers caught with two nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood face a maximum fine of $1,000. Drivers with more than five nanograms of THC per ml of blood face a mandatory fine of $1,000 for their first offence and mandatory jail time for any repeat offences. Mancini said that driving high has long been illegal in Canada and he is confident police will continue enforcing that effectively, regardless of any potential uptick in use.
“With marijuana being legal, it’s more on the forefront because people are going to potentially be consuming it more and operating vehicles,” he said. “We’ve always watched for it. We’ve always enforced it. So, really, it’s status quo in that regard.”
He urges anyone planning to consume cannabis to first secure a safe ride home.
“There really is no safe threshold at the end of the day. Like with alcohol, we always suggest people plan ahead, get somebody sober that can drive and ensure that everybody gets to where they need to be safely,” he said. “Don’t risk your life or somebody else’s.”