With the legalization of cannabis coming soon to Canada, drivers should know the laws and the consequences of breaking them.
With the legalization of cannabis on the horizon, drivers should take the time to familiarize themselves with the cannabis laws and legislation on both a federal and provincial level. Much like alcohol, the provinces can set some of their own legislation regarding penalties for drug-impaired driving, and legal age limit for purchase and use of cannabis. If you are driving through multiple provinces make sure you know the rules.
Workplace rules and policies must also incorporate this new legislation into their company culture. That isn’t to say that it is permissible to come to work under the influence, any more than it is to come to work drunk, but when cannabis becomes legal, companies will have to come up with a policy to address potential concerns.
Federal Laws for Cannabis Use When Driving
As per the Federal Government of Canada, new limits of THC in the bloodstream will equate to different levels of penalties. Here is a chart directly from the Government of Canada’s justice website.
These new impairment laws came into effect June 28, 2018. However, it is important to note that cannabis as a recreational substance has not been legalized yet. Use of cannabis for anything other than authorized medical or research purposes is still illegal until October 17, 2018.
While the federal government has provided the certain rules as found in the Criminal Code, each province was allowed to determine legal age, where to buy, where to use, legal amount to posses, and additional charges for breaking the law. Here is a break down of each province’s cannabis laws and what you need to know along with the link to each provincial government’s website for more information.
Legal age is 19,
Prohibits the use of cannabis in vehicles,
Zero tolerance for Graduated Licence Program (GLP),
90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition for anyone driving while affected by drug, or combination of drug and alcohol.
Zero tolerance for any impaired driving. This means even if you are not charged with impairment under the criminal code, you can still face penalties under Saskatchewan’s The Traffic Safety Act and face these consequences:
Driving impaired will result in immediate roadside suspension, and vehicle impoundment, and mandatory enrollment in impaired driving education, and mandatory ignition interlock
It is important to know what the rules are in each province you plan to use cannabis in. Some provinces have different tolerances if you have a prescription.
Both the federal government and the provinces are taking drug-impaired driving very seriously. From officers trained in drug recognition and evaluation to allowing police to request oral fluid samples for drug testing on the spot. Just as drinking and driving isn’t cool, neither is driving high.
Be sure to check these sites frequently if you plan to travel, as some such as Quebec and Nunavut are still finalizing the laws regarding cannabis use. And to avoid penalties in any province, just don’t drive impaired.
Driving in the United States
Cannabis is still listed on the United States drug panel as illegal. Should you be tested and found positive, you will fail. Even if you are coming from Canada and are a Canadian citizen, this does not make you eligible to pass with cannabis in your system. Your best bet is to avoid cannabis use if you are planning to drive commercially in the United States.