A B.C. police department says it’s happy a federal task force on the legalization of marijuana addressed the issue of stoned drivers.
Abbotsford deputy police chief Mike Serr agrees with the federal task force that more research is warranted to determine links between THC levels and traffic accidents.
“We also see that that is going to be a fairly significant draw on law enforcement. Not only with enforcing drug impaired driving, but the court process after the fact, so that that is going to be something we are going to be watching and reviewing closely.”
Serr says criminal prosecution is still warranted despite the looming legalization of recreational pot.
“There will still be some diversion of the product to youth. Organized crime will still want to infiltrate and sell the product to youth.”
The task force recommends the government support the development of a roadside drug screening device for detecting THC levels and look at setting limits for how much marijuana can legally be consumed before getting behind the wheel.
Meanwhile, advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving is speaking out on preventing cases of “stoned driving.”
MADD’s Andrew Murie says he agrees with the task force’s findings that a level of THC should be set for drivers, but says any further research can be ongoing after the roadside checks for THC levels are put in place.
“Police already have these tools, they’re used widely across the world, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel for a Canada solution.”
Murie says roadside testing of saliva is done in other countries, and that technology can be used the same way alcohol levels are detected here.
“Followed by a second test which would be sent to a lab and if that person is over the prescribed limit like we have zero-eight for alcohol then that individual would be charged criminally with an offence for driving above the limit, similar again to alcohol.”
The task force has not recommended what a safe level of THC should be set at for drivers.
Murie says, like drunk drivers, anyone found driving while high should be charged under the criminal code.