Three Things You Need to Know About Cannabis and Driving

Recreational cannabis has been legal in Canada for over three years, so we should all know the laws around cannabis and driving, right? Motor vehicle acts vary from province to province, but here are the top three ways to make sure you (and your stash) make it to your destination safely.

1) Driving impaired by cannabis is illegal.

It’s also very dangerous as cannabis slows your reaction time.  Slow reaction times increase your chances of being in a collision. Some of the penalties for driving high include an immediate license suspension, financial penalties, possible criminal record, and even possible jail time.

You can check out the full list of charges and penalties here.

2) Ditch the ziplock bag.

Since cannabis has been legalized, police across the country have ticketed and fined drivers for operating a vehicle while in possession of cannabis, which typically is a $230 fine. The drivers in these instances weren't high, but in one case, there was a strong odour of cannabis coming from the vehicle.  Police looked at the front seat and "sure enough there was 23 grams of cannabis in a ziplock bag sitting on the front passenger seat".

If you are transporting cannabis by car, or even by boat, it must be unopened AND in its original packaging.  This means that you have to keep your cannabis in the packaging in order to drive anywhere with it.

The only alternative to this is to pack cannabis in baggage that is fastened closed or not readily available to anyone in the vehicle.  So you can roll a joint at home and drive to a friend’s house, but only if you throw it in your trunk OR carry it in baggage that can be securely fastened.

3) If you are a young, novice, or a commercial driver, you are not allowed to have any cannabis in your system.

This zero tolerance approach is pretty similar to the laws on blood alcohol content.

Young drivers are those that 21 and under.

Novice drivers include anyone driving with a learner’s permit (like a G1 or G2 in Ontario).

Commercial drivers include those with specialized driver’s licenses for work or anyone that drives a road-building machine.

***Medical cannabis users are not 
subject to the zero tolerance drug requirements, however, they may still face penalties and criminal charges if they drive impaired.***

Stay in the Know

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