Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jul 2016
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Lucie Edwardson
Page: 17


Driving while high may carry same penalties as drinking

The Calgary Police Service is eagerly awaiting action on impaired
driving laws once marijuana legalization goes through, according to
Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey.

In February, the Liberal government officially announced its plans to
legalize and regulate marijuana by early 2017, and Stacey said it's
still unclear what that will mean for those who might drive while high.

"The rub is, we're waiting for the marijuana legislation to pass," he
said. "Whatever that will look like, we're hoping for the best as far
as impaired driving rules go. But, I guess time will tell."

Stacey said he believes the best course of action would be to treat
the laws surrounding driving high the same as those for drinking and
driving, meaning there should be a set limit, like the 0.08 law for

"We hope there's going to be some kind of per se limit attached to it
just like there is with alcohol," he said.

"That's something that experts and medical professionals are all
looking at putting."

But, local pot activist, Keith Fagin who represents the Calgary 420
Cannabis Community group, said they don't believe the two are
synonymous and shouldn't be treated the same way.

"The problem is that cannabis keeps getting compared to alcohol," he
said. "Cannabis and alcohol are not the same at all."

Fagin said unlike alcohol, which moves more quickly through someone's
system, cannabis stays in an individual's system for longer, so
measuring for THC levels in someone's system at a check stop wouldn't
work the same.

"Cannabis stays in your system sometimes for up to 30 days or longer
for some people, "he said. "If I drink a glass of wine three days
later I get stopped I wouldn't be considered impaired of course, and
that's where we're concerned about cannabis checks."

Fagin said he believes police need a better way to check for all
things that could impair people, even lack of sleep or emotional
stress that could cause a driver to become "impaired."
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