Marijuana Changes

Cop Corner, Issue No. 41

January 1st, 2018 was a landmark date for cannabis use in California.  This was the day that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act came into effect making medical and recreational use of the drug legal in the State of California.  Canada has a similar piece of legislation making its’ way through the system with Bill C-45 coming into force on July 1st pending Senate approvals.  What does this mean for you as a Canadian and potential cannabis user in 2018?  Well much of what will change is still uncertain as the Provinces have been given the authority to regulate this change.  What we do know or can reasonably assume is that we certainly will see some changes to how the police respond to impaired by drug investigations.
Many don’t know that we can already process impaired by cannabis offenders under existing legislation; that being said, we need to get quite a few items put together before we can proceed.  For starters we’d need good driving evidence that supports impairment, hopefully some drug evidence to support recent use, and physical observations consistent with impairment caused by drug.  In a perfect world we could also employ the services of a DRE or Drug Recognition Expert.  These are highly trained police officers who have been taught what to look for in terms of physical changes brought about by drug use.  Blood pressure, pupil changes, muscle twitches or control, speech changes, mood changes, temperatures, and so on.  These are all documented by a DRE and collected under demand from a subject felt to be under the influence while operating a motor vehicle.
What we currently don’t have is a mechanical roadside screening device that can provide any officer the ability to check without the DRE training on site.  That will hopefully come soon as the technology is apparently available.  In any case the onus and expectation to do the right thing always rests with the driver.  Fingers crossed we’ll get through these changes healthy and happy.  Stay Safe.