Adult use retail or recreational cannabis became legal in Canada on October 17th of 2018. Those who opposed cannabis legalization had many reasons they claimed were legitimate. One of those claims was that if cannabis was legal there would be a significant increase in high drivers. Nobody really knows if this is true or not.
There actually could be an increase in stoned drivers. However, if they are not getting into car accidents or committing other infractions, it’s tough to know if they’re high or not. A question on the minds of many is when was cannabis tested and deemed a substance that impairs a person’s ability to drive? Many people drive while taking pharmaceutical prescription drugs which impede reaction times, so what’s the difference?
The argument for those who oppose cannabis legalization is that stoned drivers are impaired as much as someone who drinks. Cannabis stays in your system for anywhere between a few days to as long as a month or more. So how do you gauge if someone is high when an accident occurs?
Pro-Cannabis Counter Argument
An argument against these beliefs is that cannabis can actually improve one’s ability to operate a vehicle. Instead of the perception of somebody driving around in a stoned daze, in some cases cannabis can allow people to maintain a calm persona and avoid anxiety. A person in this state can circumvent all kinds of problems on the road. Personally, I’d rather see somebody take a hit off of a vape pen, bowl, joint or any other method of consumption with cannabis than pop a Xanax, Valium, Ativan or other pharmaceutical narcotic and get behind the wheel. These drugs impair people’s ability to drive and have a proven history of doing so.
Cannabis Roadside Testing?
So, what about roadside testing? Canada could see a roadside saliva testing system for THC used by officers soon. A $6,000 device is supposed to produce test results in as little as 5 minutes. It tests for the presence of THC. Since THC stays in the body so long, the question still remains of how will this roadside test be able to determine if a person just consumed cannabis?