On Wednesday, October 17th, 2018, recreational marijuana use will become legalized in Canada. This will be a historic first for the nation and a change that comes with benefits and concerns. While the regulated industry will provide marijuana users with a safer avenue for purchasing the drug and redirect the profits of this business into the economy, the move also raises some questions regarding the safety of drivers on the road.

General Government Information

According to a release by the Government of Canada, “drugs can impair your ability to drive safely” and can “increase the risk of getting into a collision.” Approximately 40% of drivers who are killed in car accidents annually test positive for drugs. This is more than those who test positive for alcohol.

Although the dangers of drug-impaired driving are similar to those associated with driving under the influence of alcohol, the public seems to identify a grey area when it comes to drug-impaired driving.

The fact is that the use of marijuana impairs your motor skills, memory, concentration and reaction time. Therefore, those who choose to drive under the influence of marijuana, consumed by any method, are putting themselves and others on the road in danger.

Relevant Guidelines and Legislation

In addition to provincial and territorial specific laws that may exist, the Canadian Department of Justice introduced new impaired driving legislation that came into effect at the end of June 2018. This new legislation details the concentration of drugs allowed within an individual’s system within two hours of driving. These laws apply to those using marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes.

Depending on the level of drugs in the system, punishment for not complying with this new legislation can result in a minimum of a $1000 fine to a maximum of 120 days imprisonment. If drug-impaired driving causes bodily harm or death, the penalties may be as severe as 18 months to life in prison.

New Drug-Testing Technology

If a police officer has reasonable suspicion that a driver is drug-impaired, they have the right to perform a standardized field sobriety test or request an oral fluid sample. Blood samples may also be requested under necessary circumstances.

Oral fluid drug screeners are able to detect the presence of some drugs, including THC through saliva. This technology will be administered as a quick, non-invasive and highly accurate method for keeping the roads safe.

Similar to random breathalyser tests to test for alcohol in the system, drivers may come across drug testing stations while they are out – it is an offence to not take the test.

Signs of Drug-impaired Driving

Signs that a driver is drug-impaired include red eyes, muscle tremors, agitation, unusual speech patterns, dilated pupils, suspicious activity or unsafe driving. Never put yourself or others at risk. If you plan to use legalized marijuana, always ensure that you have arranged a safe and reliable ride home. Help others by ensuring they are not driving under the influence.

Personal Injury Lawyers

If you are interested in learning more about the legalities surrounding the legalization of marijuana or you have sustained injuries due to drug-impaired driving, contact Zayouna Law Firm for personal injury lawyers who can help you get the compensation you deserve.


Call 1-866-929-6862 for a FREE consultation!