Currently, there is only one way to get charged for being impaired driving on drugs, 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.”
1 meter height limit goes up in smoke
On Oct. 4, 2017, the federal government dropped the 1 meter height limit for home-grown cannabis plants. It was argued that the height limit was not only arbitrary, it would be extremely difficult to enforce, and growers could get around the 1 meter technicality simply by growing short, dense plants, according to Global News.
As NDP MP Don Davies said, “Cultivators might break the law simply by providing fertilizer and water and going away for a week’s vacation.”
This amendment to the Cannabis Act was supported by the Liberals and NDP, and opposed by the Conservatives, and it’s important to note that while the height limit was dropped, the limit of 4 plants per household is still in effect.
Another amendment to the Cannabis Act was made regarding edibles, which were previously prohibited with the promise to eventually get to them later. Now, the bill has been amended with a timeline to allow edibles and other concentrates (like shatter, budder, etc.) by July 2019, a year after dried cannabis becomes legal.