PEPA-19

49 30TH ANNIVERSARY CRIME PREVENTION GUIDE Does cannabis affect driving ability?(continued) How do police test for cannabis use in drivers? If police have reasonable suspicion that a driver has drugs in his or her body, the police can demand the driver complete a standardized field sobriety test (SFST) or provide an oral fluid sample (oral fluid testing devices are newly authorized for use by police as part of the Bill C-46 legislation). If the driver fails the administered test, the police can then demand a drug recognition evaluation (DRE) by specially trained officer or demand a blood sample for testing.As with testing for alcohol impairment, the first screening test is done at roadside (SFST or oral fluid screening tests) is not evidentiary and cannot be used as grounds to lay a charge or used as evidence in a criminal trial. Failure of the initial test gives police the grounds to demand a second, more sophisticated test. Failure of the secondary testing process provides grounds to lay a Criminal Code impaired driving charge. Can I fail the test hours or days after consuming? “I have heard that traces of cannabis can stay in your system for a long time, even after the impairing effects are gone. Does that mean I could fail the test hours or days after consuming?” It is true that traces of cannabis can stay in one’s system for quite some time after consumption.While a background haze of THC may persist after use, the roadside oral fluid screening devices are set to a 25 nanograms threshold, which is significantly higher than the legal driving limits. In order to fail the roadside oral screening test, a driver must have above 25 nanograms per millilitre of THC in his or her oral fluid. Readings at this level are indicative of very recent use or a high level of impairment. Setting the screening devices to fail at 25 nanograms or higher reduces the risk of false positives, helping ensure that only those drivers who have recently used or are grossly impaired fail the test. The oral fluid test is only a screening test and cannot be used as evidence in a criminal trial; rather, those drivers that fail an oral fluid test will then be required to do a second evidentiary test, which can be used as evidence. It should also be noted that police will need reasonable suspicion that a driver has drugs in his or her body to demand a driver take the roadside oral fluid screening test in the first place. This remains a concern for medical cannabis users, whose trace cannabis levels will be higher than the recreational user. MADD Canada’s recommendation, as it is for users of other prescription drugs which may impact driving ability, is to always consult with the prescribing doctor and follow their advice on if and when it is safe to drive after taking the drug. Snapshot of Canadian Cannabis Use and Driving after Cannabis Use Statistics Canada’s latest National Cannabis Survey provides a look at the rate of cannabis use among Canadians, as well as the rates of driving after cannabis use and riding with a driver who has recently used cannabis. • About 4.6 million Canadians aged 15 years or older (16%) reported using cannabis in the previous three months. Males reported using cannabis in the previous three months slightly more often than females (19% compared to 12%). • One in seven cannabis users (14%) reported driving at least once within two hours of using cannabis in the past three months. Males were nearly two times more likely than females to drive after cannabis use. • One in 20 Canadians (5%) reported being a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone who had consumed cannabis in the previous two hours. Individuals aged 15 to 24 years old were more than twice as likely to be passengers with potentially impaired drivers than people over 25 years of age. • People were more likely to drive after cannabis use or ride with someone who had used cannabis if they themselves were cannabis users. Twenty-five per cent of current cannabis users reported getting into a vehicle with a driver who had consumed cannabis recently, compared with 2% of non-users. Driving within two hours of using cannabis was more than four times as common among drivers who reported daily or almost daily cannabis use (27%) than it was among less frequent users (6%). https://madd.ca/pages/impaired-driving/overview/cannabis-and-driving/#3

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