Police In Quebec Admit They Have No Idea What The Law Says About Driving With Marijuana
You could get in trouble just for having it in your car.
Legalization day in Canada has come and gone, but some ambiguities remain.
Cannabis stores across the country, for example, are already running dry. Officials have no estimate as to when demand and supply will eventually reach a balance.
TL;DR Law enforcement agencies are uncertain how to determine whether cannabis in an individuals car was legally or illegally purchased if it is not in its original packaging from the SQDC.
But legal issues persist, too.
While the federal Cannabis Act amended the Criminal Code to provide a new framework for marijuana-related offenses, it was up to individual provincial and municipal governments to perfect that legal code according to their own rules for consumption and distribution.
Quebec has by far the most strict cannabis laws in the country. Sales are controlled entirely by a government-run corporation, the société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC).
The province also has a zero-tolerance policy for motorists who drive while high.
But more unclear are rules about transporting legal cannabis.
According to le Journal de Montréal, law enforcement does not really know how to determine whether marijuana in an individual's car is legally or illegally purchased.
Officials are uncertain whether cannabis must be in its original, sealed packing to transport legally.
Police told le Journal that it is "too soon" to determine specific enforcement practices. But officers have already made arrests for the transportation of apparantly illegally sourced marijuana only because drivers were unable to prove its legitimacy.
According to the text of Quebec's Cannabis Regulation Act, "in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the transportation of cannabis without a bill of lading indicating the names and addresses of the shipper and the receiver constitutes proof that it is intended for delivery in Québec" or illegally purchased.
So it appears that, in order to transport marijuana, consumers must have a receipt that proves lawful purchase or, if a driver is authorized by the SQDC, specific delivery information.
This may face legal challenges. As it stands, it is up to the driver to prove innocence, while the burden of proof should fall on law enforcement.
Until this ambiguity is resolved, however, those tranporting cannabis sould always keep a receipt and, ideally, store it in its original packaging.