The Cannabis Act was passed into law on June 21st, 2018. Also known as Bill-C45, the legislation will allow adults across Canada to consume recreational cannabis as of October 17, 2018.
Many drivers are concerned about the impact this may have on road safety. The Ontario government has published a guide on the legalization of cannabis, and the laws in place to protect individuals from the consequences of misuse.
Penalties For Misuse
Similar to alcohol, the new cannabis laws make it illegal to drive while under the influence. The rationale is that cannabis can slow your reaction time, which increases the likelihood of an accident on the road.
If you are found driving while drug-impaired, you can suffer penalties such as:
- Licence suspension
- Possibility of impoundment, a criminal record and jail time
These penalties have varying degrees of severity, depending on the occurrence and situation. You can view the full list on the Ministry of Transportation website.
There will be a zero-tolerance policy regarding individuals caught with cannabis in their systems behind the wheel of a car if they are under the age of 21 or do not have their full “G” licence.
Police offers will be allowed to screen drivers using an oral fluid device to detect cannabis in your system. Potential devices are still pending federal approvals.
The zero-tolerance policy will not apply for individuals who require cannabis for medical purposes. However, it is your responsibility to make sure you are not impaired while driving. You can still be charged if a police officer believes that your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle has been impaired.
If you have been injured in a car collision by an impaired driver, contact a personal injury lawyer to find out what your rights are. You may be able to pursue higher amounts of compensation than offered by your insurance provider, and the at-fault party.