In light of the fact that we are but twelve short weeks from cannabis legalization in Canada, I thought that I would start a short new blog series called The Twelve Weeks of DRE-mas. The purpose of this series is to outline the steps of the Drug Recognition Evaluation Program.
The Drug Recognition Evaluation Program is going to be very important post-legalization, as officers across Canada are training at an alarming rate to become qualified in this pseudo-scientific nonsense test for drug impairment. This first post will outline what the Drug Recognition Evaluation Program is, and how it will be used when Bill C-46 becomes law.
So, on the first week of DRE-mas, your DUI lawyer gave to you: a DRE program overview.
The Canadian Government announced this week that it has finally chosen the roadside saliva tester for drugs to be used after marijuana legalization this October. The chosen device is the Draeger DrugTest 5000.
This device is subject to numerous flaws. In an earlier blog post, I discussed some of the pitfalls generally with saliva testing, and none of those pitfalls are cured by this device. Now that we know what device is coming, we can identify which specific pitfalls apply to this device and in what way they apply.
In the spirit of reefer madness and fear-mongering, the decision by the Canadian Senate to back down from their amendments to marijuana legalization has already sparked debate about carange on our roadways. But does the effective legalization of marijuana in Canada pose any realistic risk?
Frankly, that's doubtful.
This is not another article about the science behind marijuana and driving impairment. What it is instead is a look into Canada's impaired driving legislation that already exists, to see how there is already an effective enforcement scheme set up in our existing laws. What the Federal Government is proposing in Bill C-46 for an overhaul of impaired driving legislation is just not necessary.
And here's why.
Since the move toward legalization of recreational marijuana began after the last federal election, a lot of discussion has taken place surrounding marijuana-impaired driving. What has never been clear throughout all this discussion is what the existing state of the law is when it comes to cannabis impairment and driving. This has not been assisted by the introduction of Bill C-46, which creates separate offences involving marijuana and driving.
This post breaks down marijuana impaired driving as it currently stands in British Columbia and under federal criminal law.
In Episode Seven of my Driving Law Podcast, I sit down with Paul Doroshenko of Acumen Law Corporation.
We first discuss the Senate Bill S-251, which purports to do away with mandatory minimum sentences and restore discretion to sentencing judges in certain circumstances where a minimum sentence would be inappropriate. Then, Paul and I talk about the future of self-driving cars, and how a Tesla accident may spell the end of them. Finally, Paul and I address the Cannabis Act in British Columbia and how a BC impaired driving decision may shape the future of enforcement under provincial cannabis regulation.
You can listen to the podcast on Player FM, or subscribe on iTunes, or tune in on Soundcloud.
There has been a great deal of discussion about the British Columbia Cannabis Act, but there has not been a solid breakdown of all of the offences under the Act. In an effort to provide a helpful guide, this post summarizes all the offences laid out in the Cannabis Act.
What is particularly interesting about the penalties in the Cannabis Act, is that many of the offences for possession, production, and distribution mimic those in the proposed federal regulations. This would mean that police have the opportunity to charge individuals under the provincial law or the federal law.
In last week's episode of Driving Law with Kyla Lee, I sat down with Roy Ho of Acumen Law Corporation to talk about ICBC and insurance breach investigations. In particular, Roy and I discussed how your insurance is affected by impaired driving charges and how ICBC will breach insurance coverage after an impaired driving incident. For anyone affected by an impaired driving case involving an accident, this episode is a must-listen to know whether ICBC will provide coverage in a DUI accident.
In the second half of the episode, Roy and I also discuss the changes to British Columbia's Insurance Vehicle Act and coverage for minor injury claims.
Don't forget as well to vote for me in Canadian Lawyer Magazine's Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers survey.
The Senate is currently considering legislation aimed at targeting the problem of impaired drivers on our roadways. It's a noble goal to be sure. However, the law has the potential to significantly impact small business, and in particular businesses that rely on driving and transportation.
Part of Bill C-46 involves the creation of a criminal law scheme that addresses the potential risks of marijuana-impaired driving. However, the bill proposes adding a new criminal offence of impaired driving at certain blood alcohol concentrations of THC, and imposing particular sentences for these offences. These are known in law as per se limits.
On the third episode of Driving Law with Kyla Lee, I talk to Grant Gotgettreu, a former West Vancouver Police Department Corporal and Integrated Road Safety Unit Corporal about speed estimation, and speed measurement using laser and radar. Grant is known for his history of laser and radar speed enforcement and his unbeaten record of issuing excessive speeding tickets. We also play a hilarious, albeit vulgar, recording of Grant interacting with one particularly unimpressed driver whose car is being impounded. (Free legal advice: don't do that.)
In the second half of the episode, I speak with Paul Doroshenko also of Acumen Law Corporation about the changes to the alcohol-impaired driving laws being quietly added in with the marijuana amendments.
Episode two of the Driving Law with Kyla Lee podcast is here. On this episode, I speak with former British Columbia Solicitor General and West Vancouver Police Department Chief of Police Kash Heed about impaired driving investigations, how we got the Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme, and the pitfalls of rewarding police for issuing driving prohibitions.
You can find the podcast on SoundCloud at this link.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.