While the government of Saskatchewan has not yet finalized its plan for the sale and distribution of marijuana, it is today declaring its stance on drug-impaired driving.
New legislation introduced today in the provincial legislature comes with a warning from the government. They will take a zero-tolerance stand on drug-impaired driving.
“In Saskatchewan, it is illegal to drive while impaired whether by drugs or alcohol,” said Joe Hargrave. Joe Hargrave is the minister responsible for SGI. “That is not changing, even when personal cannabis use becomes legal in July.”
“If somebody’s impaired, I don’t care if they’re impaired by prescription drugs, by illegal drugs or legal drugs cannabis whatever. Impaired driving is impaired driving and we cannot have impaired drivers on the road.”
Hargrave said police do not currently have enough tools at their disposal to get convictions for drug-impaired driving. Hargrave said the new roadside tests should change that.
Zero Tolerance For Drug-Impaired
via CBC News
The changes clear the way for new federal laws on drug-impaired driving expected soon. People should not drive with any level of marijuana in their system that is detectable by a federally-approved screening device.
“Driving impaired by drugs or alcohol is a bad idea, with serious consequences.” – JoHN Hargrave
Once the federal Bill C-46 is in place, police will have access to a roadside device. This device will be able to test saliva for marijuana use.
What The People Want
Penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (not just marijuana) will be similar to those faced with charges of driving under the influence of alcohol.
In a recent cannabis survey, two-thirds of the people who took the survey agreed the same penalties should apply. The majority also said they want a zero-tolerance stance on drug-impaired driving.
MADD Happy With The Changes
via CBC News
MADD Canada’s Saskatchewan chapter says it has been discussing this type of legislation. Talk with the Ministry of Justice and SGI have been going since the summer.
“We’re really happy to see that they went with zero tolerance. It mirrors what went on in Quebec earlier this month. We really think it’s the best approach and we’re happy to work with the government on this,” said Michelle Okere. Michelle Okere is with Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada’s Saskatchewan chapter.
MADD Canada is currently running radio and TV ads with information about drug impairment.
“We’re recommending four hours before driving, so if you have smoked marijuana then wait four hours.” Okere said.
For now, Bill C-46 has support. Until Bill C-45 goes through, there is no concern for rules to be in place. Furthermore, with the forward movement of new cannabis laws, provinces will be set up for a proper and smooth legislation.