Article by Robert Benzie, Toronto Star
Ontario will have a “zero tolerance” policy toward young drivers and truckers who use marijuana.
Premier Kathleen Wynne on Monday said those 21 and under, commercial drivers, and novice motorists will face stiffer penalties if caught behind the wheel while under the influence of cannabis or booze.
Following the lead of eight U.S. states that have legalized marijuana — including Colorado, Washington, and California — Wynne said road safety will be a priority once recreational weed is allowed after next July 1.
“We had a goal to balance the new freedom that people in Ontario will have to use cannabis recreationally with everyone’s expectation that it will be managed responsibly,” the premier said.
Recreational marijuana will only be sold here by the government in standalone LCBO-run stores — 40 in July, rising to 150 in 2020 — or online.
The province is using the impending legalization as an opportunity to also beef up drinking-and-driving penalities — with an eye on young motorists.
“We saw that in eight U.S. states where cannabis is legal those states have matched the legal age for using cannabis with the legal age for drinking alcohol — and so with that consultation under our belt we decided to move forward with that same model setting the age at 19,” she said.
Similarly, the penalties for marijuana-impaired motoring will be modelled on drunk-driving laws.