As we’re sure you know by now, cannabis is going to become fully legal across Canada in just over a month on October 17th. Which is just over a month away from now. So you'd better get used to the idea that people are going to be lighting up legally across the country.
Police forces and governments in each province of Canada have been working to create new laws and strategies to prevent driving under the influence of marijuana. Here’s what you can expect in each province if you’re caught under the influence behind the wheel.
In British Columbia, the penalty is severe no matter what if you're caught behind the wheel under the influence of cannabis.
According to the provincial government's website, you can expect a "90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP) for any driver whom police reasonably believe operated a motor vehicle while affected by a drug or by a combination of a drug and alcohol, based on analysis of a bodily substance or an evaluation by a specially trained police drug recognition expert."
You will also be responsible for paying any towing fees associated with them impounding your car when it is taken away from you.
That's the bare minimum. On top of that you could also be charged with driving under the influence, which comes with a mandatory $1,000 fine and possible prison time if you're found guilty. So it's best to avoid driving while high at all times.
In Alberta, if you're caught using cannabis behind the wheel, expect to get in serious trouble with the law.
Details of the punishment include a 90-day licence suspension, having your car taken away for at least three days, and being forced to attend mandatory educational training, according to the governments website.
You'll also have to begin using an igntion interlock program just to get into your car each time you drive for a full year.
On top of all of that you can also be charged with a DUI, which likely comes with a $1,000 fine and possibly prison time as well.
Manitoba also has some very harsh rules for people who decide it's a good plan to get home for the night while under the influence of cannabis.
According to the laws created by the Manitoba government, if you're caught behind the wheel with cannabis in your system you can have you can have your licence suspended for 24-hours on the spot by the police who pull you over.
You can also face a fine of $1,000 if you're found guilty of a DUI in court. You may even get sent to prison for it as well, for up to 30 days.
If you are responsible for causing an accident that kills someone though you could end up in jail for 10-years. So it's best to just drive sober at all times, not just here but everywhere really.
The Saskatchewan government has also created very harsh penalties for people who get caught high behind the wheel.
All drivers caught will have their licences suspended right away by the police who pull them over for driving under the influence of cannabis and they also will have their vehicles taken away from then for at least 30 days.
You'll also have to take a mandatory driving course, just like you do when you get your drivers licence in the first place.
The government also requires you to undergo an impaired driving education program as a mandatory punishment for being caught. You may also end up in jail if you're charged with a DUI.
Ontario has some of the harshest rules around driving high in all of Canada, which is really saying something here.
On your first offence, you can expect to have your licence automatically suspended for three days and a fine of $250 dollars. The penalties will officially become active on Jaunuary 1st 2019, according to the government. You'll also have to pay nearly $200 just to get your licence back.
In Ontario, you may also be criminally charged, face jail time, and have your licence taken away for an entire year. That's 365 days without driving. There's also an entire a education or treatment program specifically designed for convicted offenders of driving under the influence. You could even face a mandatory medical exam if you're caught behind the wheel high three times.
Quebec also has some very harsh rules for people who are caught using drugs like cannabis behind the wheel.
Your licence will be suspended for at least 90 days and your your car will be taken away from you for an entire year as well. Think about that, a full 12 months without driving at all.
You may even need to pay a $1,000 fine, according to the government. The offence may even end up giving you a criminal record.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is also cracking down on driving while high with some very tough penalties.
Cannabis laws in the province are treating the soon-to-be legal substance the same way that it treats alcohol, meaning this also applies to boats in the province. So don't think you can just get home in a boat while high and avoid the rules completely.
You'll also need to take a mandatory driving test, although it's unclear if this also applies if you do get caught in a boat.
If you're caught, you will have your licence suspended for at least seven days, as well as your car (or boat if you actually do that) taken away from you. You can also be charged and sent away to prison.
The Nova Scotia government has also placed some harsh rules on those caught high beind the wheel.
People risk being fined up to $2,000 if they're caught using cannabis in their car, according to the government. This is a much higher fine than you will see just about anywhere else in Canada.
That's on top of a licence suspension and possible jail time, according to the province's impaired driving laws.
Prince Edward Island
PEI may be known as the home of Anne of Green Gables, but don't expect to allowed to smoke any green stuff in your car.
The government of the province says that, "you could face provincial and criminal charges and fines. There will be additional charges and fines if you drive impaired with a minor in the car."
You'll also be banned from driving your car anywhere for at least seven days after the incident.
You could smoke it in your hotel room, though. So you may not even have to leave your room on vacation in order to use it legally.
New Brunswick also has some very tough law designed to stop people from getting behind the wheel while they are high.
Just like every other province it seems, you will have your licence supended and have your car taken from you. You'll have to pay fees in order to get your licence back as well, although the full amount you'll need to hand over is unclear but you can be sure it's likely hundreds of dollars.
You may also be required to undergo an education course, as well as being charged and possibly sent to jail for your actions.
The Yukon has very similar laws to the rest of Canada when it comes to cannabis and driving. So, don't think you can do anything you please just because the small population of the province and its remote location.
You'll have your drivers licence suspended and car impounded here, as well. You'll also likely be charged and could be sent to prison, according to the government.
North West Territories
The North West Territories have the same basic laws as the rest of Canada that are meant to deter people from getting behind the wheel while, or soon after, smoking.
Here too your car will be taken from you and your licence suspended.
You will likely be charged with a DUI and could be fined thousands of dollars. You may even end up in jail, according to the government.
Last but not least is Nunavut, where unsurpisingly, you'll find the basic same strict set of laws exist, as they do just about everywhere else in Canada.
Your licence will be suspended and your vehicle will be taken from you. You will also likely be charged with impaired driving and be fined up to $1,000 with possible jail time, according to the government.
So really to sum up, it is never a good idea to get behind the wheel while high. Even worse than any of these penalties you could end up causing a car crash and killing yourself or someone else, no one wants that to happen ever. Drive sober or call a cab or friend to help you if you need a ride home.