We knew they would come - but these are a little sobering.
Canada made history last week with the legalization of Marijuana across the country.
It was a huge win for us, ending over 90 years of prohibition and solidifying us as one of the first nations in the world to legalize cannabis.
Though, with legalization comes a bunch of new laws. The updated road laws for impaired driving gives a lot of power to the police, and its pretty scary.
Bill C-46 covers areas of road laws pertaining to impaired driving, specifically to people who drive with THC in their system.
The main things to consider with Bill C-46:
- Police will be permitted to administer roadside blood tests!
- Cops will be permitted to demand a breathalyzer from anyone, with or without reasonable suspicion.
- A criminal record will be given if breathalyzer test is refused. This is obstruction of justice.
- Legal limits for THC in your system is set under 2 nanograms. Anything 2 ng or above is a crime.
First of all, the standout thing to me here is the roadside blood tests. How on earth it is now legal for a cop to draw blood from your body in a non-sterile environment is beyond me.
The definition of a "qualified technician" for blood work will now include police officers. This is a huge problem. Not only does it put us at risk, but it could also present harm to a police officer who can be exposed to blood born communicable diseases.
As it stands now, under Bill C-46, three new impaired driving offences can come up from the 2 nanogram THC limits:
- $1000 fine - 2-5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Summary offence
- $1000 fine or 10 years jail time - 5 or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. Summary or indictable offence for repeat offenders.
- $1000 fine or 10 years jail time - Both alcohol and THC in blood. Summary and indictable offence.
This also seems a little extreme to me. First of all, roadside saliva tests are not always accurate. They can detect THC levels in your saliva, but in no way to they detect impairment.
Not to mention that THC is stored in our bodies fat cells. Meaning that THC could be released into our bloodstream over time. If you had a heavy smoke weekend or smoke often, and drive days later - the THC levels can be inaccurate and affect your roadside saliva test.
The other thing to consider here is that demanding saliva is a massive invasion of privacy, that usually requires a warrant.
While the actual testing devices have yet to be revealed by the government, three of the instruments being considered are susceptible to give false readings in high and low temperatures. In Canada, we have weather at both extremes.
This will be extremely problematic.
In a nutshell, the police can now pull you over, demand saliva and blood tests with no actual reason for suspicion, and the devices that will be used for these tests are known to give false readings - not to mention the lack of accuracy between THC blood levels vs driving impairment.
All things considered, this is a scary amount of power that police in Canada now hold over drivers.
Additionally, while legalization has moved forward, the actual date is slated for October 17th - 4 months from now. You can bet the amount of citations and tickets issues from police towards people who consume marijuana is going to be very high leading up to 10/17(the new 4/20!).
Bill C-46 is receiving a lot of criticism for its "overkill" stance on impaired driving from the likes of cannabis. I'm sure this is far from the last time we will be hearing about this.
Somebody should launch a stoner-friendly version of Uber ASAP!
You can read the full details on Bill C-46 from The Canadian Bar Association right here.