On the holiday that cannabis users and activists look forward to every year, 4/20, Canada’s Health Minister announced that legislation for legal cannabis would be introduced by spring of 2017. While those in the cannabis community are looking forward to this finally happening, prominent members of law enforcement, two police chiefs to be specific, are voicing their concerns.
Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick foresees an issue with impaired driving as detecting drivers who have used cannabis is still a new experience for most of law enforcement. “I think we’re resolved to the fact that changes are coming. We will of course enforce whatever laws are there at the time, but again we need tools to keep people safe and that’s really our primary objective,”the Chief said.
Police Chief of Brandon, Ian Grant, noted some specific issues of impaired driving after cannabis legalization happens. “For example, in alcohol we know there’s a set amount that you can have in your bloodstream before there’s charges that would be laid against you. But there’s no set amount as to the amount of marijuana that can be in your system, and having said that, if you establish that, how do you test that? There’s a lot of complexity around that issue,”Grant said.
Companies are aggressively developing portable breathalyzers for law enforcement to use. No specific details have been released by the federal government on how the impaired driving issue will be handled.