Senate Struggles With Key Question: How Do You Measure Pot Impairment For Drivers?

Article by Rachel Aiello, CTV News

The federal government’s drug-impaired driving bill has taken a backseat so the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee can focus on passing its sister bill on marijuana legalization, as uncertainty remains over how to legislate and enforce ways to measure marijuana impairment.

Determining marijuana impairment has been a major issue raised by a series of expert witnesses, including law enforcement and toxicologists who have testified at the Senate committee.

Senators on the committee heard there is no consensus on how to determine scientifically whether a person is high behind the wheel, and what level of THC — the main compound that causes a high — is required to constitute impairment.

“Drugs, and cannabis in particular, is very different from alcohol. Alcohol we know that 0.08 you’re impaired, and that’s been scientifically proven. Drugs, cannabis, it’s not clear,” Independent Sen. André Pratte, a committee member, said on CTV’s Power Play.

In April 2017 the federal government introduced its suite of marijuana legalization legislation. Two bills tackle the major policy overhaul:

  • Bill C-45, the main piece, sets out the parameters around the production, possession, safety standards, distribution, and sale of marijuana
  • Bill C-46 changes impaired driving laws to give police new powers to conduct roadside intoxication tests, including oral fluid drug tests, and would make it illegal to drive within two hours of being over the legal limit.

Both bills have passed the House of Commons and have been before the Senate for months. Senators have agreed to extend the study of Bill C-45, meaning a legalized marijuana regime won’t be up and running across Canada until after the government’s initial July 2018 target.

Read the full article here.

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