Article by Danny Kerslake, CBC News
While the government of Saskatchewan has not yet finalized its plan for the sale and distribution of marijuana, it is today declaring its stance on drug-impaired driving.
New legislation introduced Tuesday in the provincial legislature comes with a warning from the government that it will take a zero-tolerance stand on drug-impaired driving.
“In Saskatchewan it is currently and will continue to be illegal to drive while impaired whether by drugs or alcohol,” said Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for SGI, in a news release. “That is not changing, even when personal cannabis use becomes legal in July.”
The legislation would result in immediate suspension of a driver’s licence after being charged with one of the three new Criminal Code charges under Bill C-46.
The driver’s vehicle would also be seized for 30 days after a charge — 60 days if the driver is also impaired by alcohol and has a blood alcohol concentration over .16.
Under the new legislation, a conviction for driving while impaired by cannabis would bring a driving suspension of one to five years and penalties ranging from $1,250 to $2,500 under SGI’s Safe Driver Recognition program.
“If somebody’s impaired, I don’t care if they’re impaired by prescription drugs, by illegal drugs or legal drugs cannabis whatever. Impaired driving is impaired driving and we cannot have impaired drivers on the road.”
Hargrave said police do not currently have enough tools at their disposal to get convictions for drug-impaired driving, he said the new roadside tests should change that.