How Will the Legalization of Marijuana Affect Canadian Drivers?

Our lawyers weigh in on what will happen for Canadian drivers when marijuana is legalized.

Our Owen Sound Car Accident Lawyers Weigh in on Legalization & Driving

You’ve probably heard that marijuana will become legal in Canada on October 17, 2018. As this date approaches, it’s important to think about how the new law will impact our nation’s drivers. Cannabis, like alcohol, can diminish a person’s driving abilities and lead to accidents and even fatalities. However, in contrast to alcohol, authorities still haven’t figured out an effective way to test whether a driver is impaired due to marijuana use. Here’s some information about driving under the influence of marijuana so you can stay safe on the road.

How Does Marijuana Affect Your Ability to Drive?
Most experts agree that cannabis use doesn’t impair your driving abilities to the same extent that alcohol does. Nevertheless, it’s still unsafe—and illegal—to drive while high.

Smoking or consuming marijuana in any form alters your spatial perception and slows down your reaction times, which can be very dangerous while driving. Drivers under the influence of marijuana tend to drive too slowly, swerve suddenly, make abrupt lane changes and fail to react in time to sudden dangers on the road. All of these factors make them much more likely to be involved in accidents.

What are the Laws Surrounding Driving and Marijuana Use in Canada?
Just like driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs is illegal. However, while police can determine if a driver has consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol with a breathalyser test, it’s more difficult to figure out if a person who’s been using marijuana is impaired.

Right now, you can face charges for drugged driving in Canada if you’re pulled over by the police and fail a general sobriety test evaluating your ability to function. Unlike with alcohol, however, there are no legal limits on how much THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, you can have in your bloodstream.

The government is in the process of instituting new laws to protect drivers when marijuana becomes legal. These laws will allow police to administer saliva tests (currently in development) to determine how much THC is in a driver’s system. Depending on their THC levels, the driver may face steep fines or even prison time. If you use marijuana in moderation and don’t drive while high, your THC levels won’t be high enough to result in a charge.

Consult our Car Accident lawyers if You’re Involved in a Marijuana-Related Accident
As personal injury lawyers who often assist car accident victims, the team at Tamming Law want to make sure Canadian drivers stay safe as the new marijuana laws come into effect. If you find yourself in need of legal services from a lawyer in the Owen Sound, Port Elgin or Collingwood areas, contact us to make an appointment right away.

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