Article by Mike Okada, Cannabis Life Network
There’s been a lot of buzz in Canada as the provinces rush to get ready for cannabis legalization by the July 2018 deadline.
From Ontario’s announcement of an LCBO-controlled retail model, to New Brunswick creating a cannabis crown corporation, to numerous dispensary raids, to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority relaxing the rules for flying with medicinal cannabis, and BC and Alberta both unveiling their frameworks for cannabis legalization…. it’s a lot to keep up with.
But the federal government has been busy as well. Here are the recent updates on impaired driving laws, the fate of the 1 meter height limit for home grows, and the inevitability of edibles.
Impaired driving: How high’s too high?
On Oct. 14, 2017, the Canadian government released a draft to their Blood Drug Concentration Regulations.
Currently, there is only one way to get charged for being impaired driving on druds, known as the impaired driving offence. Being charged only requires proof of drug impairment- you don’t have to test over a set level of drugs in the blood and you have no right to a jury.
With alcohol, in addition to being able to be charged for proof of impairment, you can also be charged for having a BAC over 0.08 mg of alcohol (per 100 mL of blood).
Currently, there are no similar blood drug concentration (BDC) offences for THC and Bill C-46 aims to change that by introducing three new laws: one summary conviction and two hybrid offences.
Summary Conviction Offences are for minor crimes and have less severe punishments that max out at a $5000 fine, six months in jail, or both. In cannabis’ case, the maximum penalty for a blood drug concentration (BDC) between 2-5 nanograms of THC (per 100 mL of blood) is a $1000 fine.
Hybrid Offences can be charged as either a summary conviction or indictable offence- it’s up to the Crown. Indictable offences are much more serious. The two new hybrid offences are for:
- Having a BDC of over 5 nanograms of THC per mL of blood
- Having a combination of low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and blood drug concentration (BDC)
Legal experts are concerned because, as the federal government said in a statement, “It should be noted that THC is a more complex molecule than alcohol and the science is unable to provide general guidance to drivers about how much cannabis can be consumed before it is unsafe to drive or before the proposed levels would be exceeded.”