Article by Sarah Leamon, Cannabis Life Network
A number of tough new cannabis impaired driving laws kicked into effect only a few months ago, and already, some Canadians are feeling the burn.
Nova Scotia motorist Michelle Gray has been making headlines over the last week thanks to her debacle at the roadside, which occurred after she identified herself as a medical cannabis patient during a routine road check.
In January, Gray was stopped by police and questioned about alcohol consumption while on her way home from downtown Halifax. After passing the roadside breathalyzer test, police told her that they could smell cannabis in her vehicle. In response, Gray admitted to using medical cannabis to treat MS. This caused her to be subjected to a second roadside test to test for the presence of drugs.
Gray failed the test. The results came up positive for THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis. This caused her to be arrested for impaired driving and transported to the police station, where she was forced to undergo a series of tedious and protruding tests performed by a Drug Recognition Expert.
Although Gray knew that she was not impaired by cannabis, she later told the press that she was worried about failing the tests and being arrested due to her medical condition. After all, MS impacts her balance and can cause problems for her short-term memory – both of which were being evaluated by the Expert.
However, after thorough examination, the Drug Recognition Expert concluded that Gray was not impaired, despite what the roadside drug testing device had said.
Gray was released.
But she didn’t walk away unscathed.
Aside from the inherently invasive and terrifying process of being arrested and evaluated in the course of an impaired driving investigation, Gray was issued with a driving prohibition and a vehicle impoundment…all on the basis of her failed roadside drug test.
Yes, you read that right.
A medical cannabis user who was not impaired at the time of driving – according to a police expert – was essentially penalized by police for being impaired at the time of driving
The penalties doled out to Gray were on the basis of her failed drug test alone. The fact that she was ultimately vindicated by police and proven not to be impaired did not save her from the costs associated with being issued a driving suspension and vehicle impoundment.