Early Data Suggests No Post-Legalization Spike in Drug-Impaired Driving Charges

Article by Amy Smart, CityNews

Early data suggests no post-legalization spike in drug-impaired driving charges BY AMY SMART In this photo illustration, smoke from a cannabis oil vaporizer is seen as the driver is behind the wheel of a car in North Vancouver, B.C., on November 14, 2018. Canadian police say they haven't been busting many more stoned drivers six months after legalization and continue to prioritize investigative resources toward more deadly drugs, but are reminding drivers to keep cannabis out of reach. Jonathan Hayward

Canadian police say they haven’t been busting many more stoned drivers six months after legalization, but they are reminding drivers to keep cannabis out of reach.

The Canadian Press canvassed police forces across the country and most reported no significant change in the number of impaired driving charges laid, while some said it’s too early to release data, and at least one reported a rise in charges.

Dozens of charges have also been laid under the new federal Cannabis Act relating to possession and trafficking but Chief Const. Mike Serr of the Abbotsford Police Department in British Columbia said the number is “not significant at this point.”

Serr, who co-chairs the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police’s drug advisory committee, said member police departments are prioritizing investigations related to drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine.

“And we still know that organized crime is still involved in the production of cannabis and selling it to the illicit stores, and we’re still on top of those when they come to our attention,” he said.

“But most police departments are still really focusing on the drugs that we know that are killing people, the opiates and methamphetamines that are causing major concerns across the country.”

One of the more common charges since legalization relates to the storage of cannabis in vehicles. Ontario Provincial Police has recommended 962 charges for driving a car or boat with cannabis readily available, representing the bulk of all charges laid under the province’s cannabis legislation.

Read the full article here.

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