Global BC - New B.C. pot laws include 90-day ban on drug-impaired drivers, but what is ‘impaired’?

The following article appeared on Global B.C.'s 6 O'Clock news on February 5, 2018.

B.C.’s new marijuana regulations include a 90-day driving ban that will apply to anyone caught driving while impaired by drugs.

The province also said it will increase training for law enforcement officers to recognize impairment.

But the new regulations could face court challenges due to a lack of reliable technology that can determine whether a driver is drug-impaired, said Sarah Leamon, a lawyer with Acumen Law Corporation.

“I think that if legislation is passed on, say, March 1, it’s going to be challenged on March 2,” Leamon said.

Anyone caught driving while drug-impaired could face a 90-day driving ban. Similar to alcohol, there will be zero-tolerance restrictions for the presence of THC, the active drug in marijuana, for drivers in the graduated licensing program

Similar to alcohol, marijuana will not be allowed within a driver’s reach.

With regard to the 90-day ban, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth acknowledged that there are questions around the reliability of roadside tests.

“That’s in the Senate right now,” he said.

“It’s one of the areas I’ve said where we have real concerns about the equipment, the test that’s being used, when it will be ready and the training that’s going to be required,” Farnworth added.

Saliva screening devices are being tested at law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

While the devices can detect a drug’s presence, measuring impairment can prove to be a challenge, Leamon said.

“It can stay in your body for a longer period of time, depending how long you’re using it, how frequently you’re using it and, quite frankly, how much body fat you have.

“So it can remain in your system for weeks, even months after use and, of course, you’re no longer affected by it.”

You can read the full story and watch the news clip here.

Sarah Leamon