Canadian Lawyers Call on Federal Government Not to Implement 2ng/ml THC Driving Offence

News Release by Harrison Jordan

Canada's Top Lawyers Call on Federal Government Not to Implement 2ng/ml THC Driving Offence

More than 50 of Canada’s most prominent cannabis, impairment, and criminal defence lawyers have come together to sign a letter dated November 13, 2017 that calls on the federal government to not implement a proposed regulation that would create a criminal offence for those found with between 2 ng/ml to below 5 ng/ml of THC in their whole blood within two hours of driving.

While an occasional user of cannabis may fall below the 2 ng/ml threshold a number of hours after ingestion, several studies have indicated that regular consumers of marijuana, such as those authorized to possess it for medical purposes, will often have levels of THC circulating in their blood above that threshold long after they have abstained from consuming cannabis.

Two studies from 2009, including a study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology and another one in the Addiction journal, concluded that after seven days of abstaining from cannabis, a significant number of regular cannabis users studied had more than 2 ng/ml of THC in their blood.

Therefore, this provision would disproportionately affect the 200,000 Canadians that are authorized to possess cannabis for medical purposes and would also arbitrarily criminalize many lawful Canadians.

The government has asserted that the 5 ng/ml threshold for a hybrid offence “could be associated with some impairment,” but has also conceded that the 2 ng / ml threshold is “not directly” tied to impairment and rather reflects “a precautionary or crime prevention approach.”

See letter here (it may be updated occasionally with new lawyer names as they are added):
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UrCUW_PnlGipVyJ6wRI5R1eCZRsRVZFC5Orw_QBE1Lg

See proposed federal government regulations here:
http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2017/2017-10-14/html/reg1-eng.php

NOTE: It is important to note that the letter does not take a position generally on per-se limits for drug-impaired driving nor does it impugn the 5ng / ml threshold that is being proposed for a hybrid criminal offence, despite what some individual lawyers may believe one way or the other about it.

 

For questions, please contact:

Harrison Jordan
J.D. // Osgoode Hall Law School
Articling Student // Lewin Sagara LLP
(647) 868-2267
harjord@gmail.com

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