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

Just Posted

Cache Creek landfill extension set for September completion

Project has been delayed due to wildfires and floods over past two years

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Bonaparte River fishway, Thompson steelhead among projects awarded grant funding

More than $9 million will help 170 fish and wildlife projects around B.C.

Wellness clinics provide free, drop-in health information

New service in Clinton helps patients manage their health care and stay out of hospital

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read