All eyes were on the passing of the Cannabis Act last week, which will make it legal to buy recreational weed in Canada on October 17. But the government also passed its impaired driving bill—one that gives police sweeping new powers and could criminalize drivers who are completely sober.
Bill C-46 creates new offences for people who drive with a certain amount of THC in their system and toughens up the rules around drinking and driving. While that may sound like a good thing—no one wants dangerous drivers on the road—experts argue several parts of the bill are unconstitutional and will trample on the rights of citizens.
Vancouver-based lawyer Kyla Lee, who specializes in defending clients charged with impaired driving, said provinces could also impose additional punishments; in BC, for example, testing over the per se limit in an oral fluid test can result in an immediate drivers’ license revocation.
In order to administer a drug test, such as a roadside saliva test, a cop must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is impaired by a drug.
But these types of tests can’t detect impairment and critics argue the government’s per se limit is arbitrary. Plus, THC is stored in fat cells and then released into the bloodstream, meaning it can stay in your system for a long time. That means medical cannabis users or people who consume recreationally often have a good chance of having more than the legal limit of THC in their bodies, even if they aren’t impaired.
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Kyla Lee - Vancouver Criminal Lawyer
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer Kyla Lee is available to give interviews on all variety of criminal law topics, including drunk driving rulings and Immediate Roadside Prohibition legislation. Kyla Lee has appeared on Global BC, CBC, in the Vancouver Sun, and other media throughout BC. She is a leader in developments in drinking and driving law in British Columbia.