BC Police Have Laid Zero Charges Under Canada’s New Drug-Impaired Driving Laws But Ontario Has Issued 100
Since cannabis has become legal in Canada, laws have been made to eliminate and catch drug-impaired drivers. While this may sound fine in theory, it has been proven difficult to do so in several instances. So much so, that BC police have actually laid zero drug-impaired charges under Canada’s driving laws.
Following legalization, Parliament passed laws that set blood limits for cannabis while driving. Out of all the Canadian provinces, BC has had no charges of impaired drivers so far, even though there have been charges in other provinces. It's pretty surprising, considering BC can be known by some as the province most commonly associated with pot use.
Toronto police Sgt. Warren Stein told Global News that the main problem with charging a driver under the new drug limits is the need for a prompt blood test. “It’s extremely complicated, and that’s why we don’t use it very often,” said Stein. “It’s literally the last resort.”
According to Global News, one problem is that the suspect has to be brought into the hospital and have blood taken within two hours of the incident. In big cities, this is a huge stretch.
If by chance the police and a suspect do make it to the hospital in time, it is up to the doctor if they will take the blood. Often times, busy emergency wards, understandably, can’t fit it in.
According to the Department of Justice Canada, drivers with blood levels of over two nanograms of THC per milliliters can be charged. Anyone over five nanograms would face more serious penalties including mandatory minimum jail time after a first offence.
While no charges have been issued in B.C., other provinces have been taking advantage of the fines. Ontario has laid exactly 100 charges by the end of June 2019 - although they are largely focused on smaller more rural areas, according to Global News.
Other large cities like Toronto have laid two charges. According to Global News, a majority of the charges across the province are centered towards smaller towns.