Article by Bruce Cheadle, The Hamilton Spectator
The Canadian Automobile Association is lobbying for a government-funded public education program to warn of the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving before Canada legalizes recreational pot.
Police will also need more funding to learn how to recognize and investigate drug-impaired drivers, says the CAA.
The Liberal government has promised to introduce legislation legalizing recreational marijuana next spring, and a committee report on the process is expected at the end this month.
The CAA helped fund a study by the Ottawa-based Traffic Injury Research Foundation that suggests legalization will pose “incredible challenges” for managing pot-impaired drivers.
The study is sure to inflame the escalating propaganda war over marijuana’s harms and benefits, because it is premised on the assumption that access to legal cannabis will increase traffic accidents.
The CAA commissioned a poll that found almost two thirds of respondents are worried roads will become more dangerous after legalization.
“There are a lot of misconceptions out there that marijuana doesn’t affect your driving, or even worse, it makes you a better driver,” Jeff Walker of the Canadian Automobile Association said in a release.
“There need to be significant resources devoted to educating the public in the run-up to, and after, marijuana is legalized.”
The CAA-funded study, however, notes there is a lack of good research data on what it calls the “magnitude of the relationship between THC use and collision risk.”