Article by Ben Spurr, Hamilton Spectator
A poll released Thursday by the South Central Ontario chapter of the Canadian Automobile Association found 48 per cent of drivers who said they currently use cannabis reported they had tried driving after ingesting or smoking the drug.
Sixteen per cent of all the province’s motorists said they had tried driving after using pot at some point in their life.
The poll, conducted by Ipsos in July, surveyed 1,000 adults in the province who have a valid driver’s licence and drive a motor vehicle. Extrapolating the results, the CAA said the poll shows 1.9 million of the province’s motorists have taken to the road under the influence of pot.
“It tells us right away that road safety must be a priority and be a leading issue now that we’re getting towards the point of legalization,” said Elliott Silverstein, the CAA’s manager of government relations, who emphasized the need for public awareness campaigns to deter driving while high.
While the poll suggests using cannabis before driving is already prevalent, Silverstein said his organization is concerned “there’s a potential for there to be more of it come legalization.”
Recreational use of the drug will become legal across Canada on Oct. 17.
According to the poll, motorists who said they drove after using pot were more likely to be male (69 per cent), between the ages of 25 and 34 (35 per cent), and live in the downtown of a major city (37 per cent).