Driving While Under The Influence of Marijuana

In June of 2018, the Canadian Government passed the Cannabis Act (C-45). This led to the legalization of marijuana on the 17th of October that same year. Despite the law still being in its infancy, there are many motorists who are unaware of the law and the rules that apply while driving.

Can You operate a Motor Vehicle while under the Influence of Marijuana?

As with alcohol, marijuana can have an adverse impact on a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. However, this depends on the amount ingested before getting behind the wheel of your vehicle. The higher the influence of marijuana the greater the risk of your life as well as the passengers riding with you. If the police suspect that you are driving impaired, you will be tested for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the main active ingredient in marijuana and what gives you the “high” that you experience.

Is testing for Marijuana similar to testing for Alcohol?

Unlike sobriety tests for alcohol, testing for marijuana is considerably more difficult and time-consuming. The police will usually take a saliva sample by swabbing your gums, inner cheeks, and tongue. It is then inserted into a specially designed machine that analyzes your saliva and looks for the presence of THC. The police will also subject you to a Standardized Field Sobriety Test which requires you to undergo the same mental and physical coordination tests that determines if you’re alcohol impaired. If there is even an iota of fault of the plaintiff, it is best to consult with an Accident Lawyer in Kelowna to know more about it. The amount of compensation that will be paid to the injured victim will be reduced if he or she is at part fault in the accident.

What Punishments are imposed for Driving Impaired by Marijuana?

If you reject the test the officer tries to give you, you will be arrested and charged for suspicion of being under the influence of marijuana. Charges for driving under the influence of marijuana will depend on the amount or level of THC found in your system. For example, if you have:

• Between 2 and 5 nanograms (ng) per millimeter of blood – a fine of up to $1,000
• Over 5 nanograms or 2.5 nanograms and a 0.05% blood alcohol level – $1,000 fine for your first offense, up to 30 days in jail for the second offense, and up to 120 days in jail for your third offense

Furthermore, your vehicle could be impounded for 3 days. Additionally, your license could be suspended for 90 days or be subjected to an interlock program for 1 year. However, if you cause an accident and people suffer fatalities or serious injuries as a result, your punishment will be significantly more severe.