Device for THC Saliva Testing Awaits Canada’s Attorney General Approval

A device for THC saliva testing is currently being considered by Canada’s Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Wilson-Raybould, however, is waiting for the final review of an independent committee to approve the device, which tests THC in the saliva of those suspected impaired drivers.

The committee is made up of toxicologists and traffic safety experts. However, there is another hiccup: To approve Draeger DrugTest 5000, the device needs to be re-evaluated to see if it doesn’t violate Canadian laws.

THC saliva test
Dräger DrugTest 5000 is a German-made detection device.

The Device Tests Early THC Use

Many marijuana advocates have complained of previous tests not reflecting the real high since cannabis can remain the bloodstream for a long time without any of its psychoactive effects taking place.

However, the device – already in use in the United Kingdom and Germany – is able to detect recent cannabis use, up to six hours, as well as that of cocaine.

The device is a big move for Canadian police, who are currently using a field sobriety test, by asking people suspected drivers to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line.

Devices to detect THC were included in Bill C-46 which received Royal Assent in June.

Under the bill, police officers have the right to test for alcohol without reasonable suspicion, and drivers who refuse tests are given criminal charges and penalties similar to those incurred with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge.

Two to five nanograms of THC are treated as a lower-level offense and can land its culprits a $1,000 fine.

However, if a high level of THC is found, then the offender can face a similar repercussion with the law to that of a person driving under the influence of alcohol. The offender can receive up to 120 days in prison, depending on whether it’s a first, second, or third offense.

Buying the Device

Citing a Public Safety spokesperson, the National Post reported that the federal government is making $81 million available over five years for provinces and territories to buy these THC screening devices and train more officers to recognize drug impairment.

The federal government is also planning to keep prices and procurement process uniform for the devices used in all of Canada’s provinces and territories.