It is a popular topic on radio and within news articles these days as governments struggle to come to terms with the inevitable legalization of Marijuana. The Wynn government has announced that they will be increasing the penalties for certain classes of drivers who are found to have “drugs in their system.”
The Wynn government announced that they would be increasing these penalties above and beyond any Criminal Code sanctions for impaired driving that would apply. The police will utilize an oral fluid screening device to determine if there are drugs in the driver’s system. A positive test will result in a fine and driving suspension; both of these will be issued on the spot.
The problem is that this testing is illegal. Cannabis is fat-soluble, and because of this, it can stay in your system for up to 30 days.
The problem is that the test will come back as positive long after the impairing effects have worn off. Without direct evidence that the driver is impaired, there has been no crime, and you cannot be punished for using a legal substance at a time before you drove when there are no impairing effects active.
Roadside screening devices for alcohol work because the impairing effects of alcohol are reflected real time by the test results. You can’t be stone cold sober and blow positive because you drank two glasses of wine 4 days ago….but this can happen with roadside cannabis screenings that the Wynn regime is proposing.
Wynn is getting poor advice and moving in the wrong direction as she attempts to combat drug-impaired driving. I would be surprised if this policy survives as it will result in the unlawful persecution of lawful cannabis users who may not be impaired… thus criminalizing the use of marijuana once again.
However, this will certainly be overturned by the courts once I get one of these cases.
By Nick Cake