Over the last several months, numerous articles have been posted discussing the development of a marijuana breathalyzer. The theory is that through the miracle of science (or a complex technical formula the explanation of which is not relevant to this blog post) a sample of a person's breath will reveal the concentration of marijuana in their bloodstream. This is similar to alcohol breathalyzers, though the process by which the sample is analyzed and the marijuana detected is vastly different.
Many groups like MADD Canada have pushed for a mechanism of roadside testing for drivers suspected of being impaired by drugs. They see the development of these tools as a victory in the battle against impaired driving. But will a marijuana breathalyzer really help anything?
I say no.
I deal with a fair number of 24-Hour Prohibitions for Drugs in the course of my work. These types of prohibition are dangerous, in my opinion, because they can happen to anyone at any time or place on a roadway. They also involve greater consequences than what is told to the driver at the time the prohibition is issued. And disputing them is a complex and often expensive process, with results that do not really address the concerns a dispute process should. I've previously written about drug-impaired driving laws in Canada, and promised that I would follow up with more information about the 24-Hour for Drugs dispute process.
Between the race to develop a marijuana "breathalyzer" and the legalization of marijuana in U.S. border states like Colorado and Washington, there has been a great deal of discussion about drug impaired driving law in British Columbia and Canada. Many groups such as MADD Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse have been putting pressure on government to establish "per se" limits for drugs in the body. But will this really deal with the problem of drug-impaired driving? And is drug-impaired driving really a problem in Canada?
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer focusing primarily on DUI, impaired driving, and Immediate Roadside Prohibition cases.