A cannabis store in Blaine, Washington. With non-medical cannabis now legal in Canada, more people might be tempted to drive while under the influence. Photo: Black Press files.

A cannabis store in Blaine, Washington. With non-medical cannabis now legal in Canada, more people might be tempted to drive while under the influence. Photo: Black Press files.

If you choose to use cannabis, choose not to drive

Know how to handle cannabis safely to keep yourself and others safe

By Mike Farnworth

Cannabis is now legal—but if you choose to use, don’t drive.

You’ve probably heard this message in a new ad. As public safety minister, I want you to understand why it’s vital to take it seriously.

I also hope you’ll talk to your loved ones of all ages. In a roadside survey conducted last spring, the number of participating drivers who tested positive for drugs was up 15 per cent from 2012, with more than two-thirds of those drivers testing positive for cannabis. And drug use was most prevalent among those aged 25 and under, and those over 55.

With the first holiday season of legal cannabis upon us, additional concerns have emerged: a new survey indicates many people think it’s okay to drive after smoking a joint, and many will celebrate with alcohol and cannabis.

So let’s clear the air:

* Cannabis reduces your ability to drive safely. Research shows crash risk increases with cannabis consumption and can be significantly greater if your blood drug concentration is over the Criminal Code limit. Drinking alcohol compounds the impairing effect of even a small amount of cannabis.

* The police are ready. Drug-affected driving isn’t new. Police have the tools and skills necessary to detect drivers who are unsafe due to any kind of impairment and take them off the road. If anything, the additional police training that has accompanied legalization has increased their ability to stop drug-affected drivers.

* Mandatory alcohol screening is legal in Canada beginning Dec. 18, 2018. If you’re affected by alcohol, or any substance, and driving, expect greater scrutiny.

* The penalties are serious. On Oct. 17, 2018, we extended B.C.’s zero-tolerance restriction for the presence of alcohol to cover the presence of specific drugs, such as THC and cocaine, for new drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP). And in spring 2019, we’ll provide police with more tools to remove drug-affected drivers from the road for 90 days.

* You can take it with you, but there are rules about transporting cannabis in a vehicle. You’re probably aware that nobody is allowed to have open alcohol or consume it in a motor vehicle. The same goes for medical and non-medical cannabis. Cannabis in its original, sealed packaging can be stored anywhere in a vehicle. But if it’s unsealed, it has to be out of reach of the driver and passengers;.

For more details, I encourage you to visit www.getcannabisclarity.ca.

In recent years, the number of lives lost in alcohol-related crashes has decreased. Together, our government and police agencies are determined to preserve and build on these life-saving gains in a legal cannabis environment.

However you choose to celebrate this season, plan ahead for a safe ride home. Please help us ensure safe and happy holidays for everyone.

Mike Farnworth is Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The future of the Cache Creek pool is still up in the air as council ponders different options and cost considerations. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
No decision about whether Cache Creek pool will open in 2021

Council still discussing pool’s future; no date set for public meeting about its fate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read