Calgary Police Service Traffic Unit Braces for Canada’s Impending Legalization of Marijuana

Article by Ryan White, CTV News


The federal government’s pledge to legalize marijuana by the spring of 2017 has local police agencies questioning the potential impact the move may have on road safety.

The Calgary Police Service has concerns the legislation could be in place before the force can adopt new testing methods for pot-related impairment.

“Canada has to wait to find out what law has passed in order for us to then research and determine what tools we’re going to be able to use to enforce whatever laws are passed,” said Sgt. Richard Butler of the Calgary Police Service alcohol and drug recognition unit.

South of the border, some states have adopted a zero tolerance policy for drivers while others allow up to five nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). “With alcohol, we can say everybody is impaired at a level of 100 milligram per cent,” explained Butler. “The levels haven’t really been established yet for THC.”

While the Canadian standards for marijuana-related impairment have not been determined, police say there are tried and true detection methods for impairment including standardized field tests.

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