Pubdate: Thu, 26 May 2016
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Page: A1
Copyright: 2016 The StarPhoenix
Author: D.C. Fraser


Province Plans to Offer Input on Federal Roadside Testing Legalization

Premier Brad Wall wants to know more about driver safety and marijuana.

With the federal government planning to have legalization legislation 
next spring, the province is putting together a team to study what 
impact that could have on Saskatchewan roads.

The Justice, Corrections and Policing and SGI ministers will all 
examine the issue before reporting their findings to a federal task 
force focusing on regulatory issues surrounding marijuana.

"We want to make sure we're part of the process recommending some 
things back to the federal government, in terms of keeping our roads 
safe, in terms of public safety issues that may arise from marijuana 
legalization and normalization, to the extent that will happen," said Wall.

There is currently no standard for what impairment is for drugs, and 
there is no roadside test like there is for drunk driving when it 
comes to testing for drug use.

"The question then becomes, what's the roadside test for this?" said 
Wall, noting Saskatchewan already has a high rate of drinking and 
driving incidents.

Some roadside tests for marijuana use exist, but critics have raised 
questions about accuracy and the amount of time those take.

In Colorado, where marijuana is legal, there is such a test being 
used. It can test saliva for marijuana and be done on the side of a 
road in a matter of minutes.

Those testing positive from that can face jail time, fines and 
suspension of their driver's licence.

"We have the advantage in our country of just below the border in the 
state of Colorado,marijuana has been legal for quite some time," said 
Wall, adding there are lessons to be learned from that state's 
experiences. The federal government campaigned on legalizing 
marijuana. Wall respects there is a public mandate to follow up on 
that, but is more supportive of decriminalization.

"Certainly, decriminalization needs to happen and we will have 
legalized marijuana in the country and we should be prepared it will 
be implemented as safely as possible," he said.

Regina Police Service Chief Troy Hagen told reporters on Wednesday 
the force is working with the federal government through the Canadian 
Association of Chiefs of Police.

"We're working with the federal government. From our perspective 
nationally, we're very much concerned about public safety," he said, 
adding that's an everyday concern.

He said despite the changes that come with elected governments, 
"we've always enjoyed a good level of consultation through that 
process, so we're looking forward to that."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom