Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jun 2017
Source: Peace Arch News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Peace Arch News


Regardless of whether one agrees with the decision to legalize
marijuana, that train has left the station and is scheduled to roll
down the track on July 1, 2018.

The focus now must shift to how those changes will affect the rights
of citizens, law enforcement and the courts.

Once the smoke clears, there must be clarity and consistency in how
police and the courts deal with offenders under the federal
government's proposed new impaired-driving legislation.

A ruling by Justice Nigel Kent on May 18 quashed a charge of impaired
driving against a Vancouver man who, according to the police report,
had "glassy red eyes," a "strong odour of marijuana" on him and pot
grinders in plain sight in his vehicle.

"The alleged reasonable and probable grounds in this case really boil
down to a combination of slow driving, the odour of vegetative
marijuana and glassy red eyes," Kent stated in his ruling. "Absent
more objectively compelling circumstances, however, three 'mere
possibilities' do not a reasonable probability make."

On the flip side of that decision is a 2017 incident in Greater
Victoria in which a woman's licence was suspended for three months
following a routine traffic stop. While she freely admitted the
passenger in her vehicle had just smoked marijuana, she also insisted
she has never smoked pot, and repeated that in a sworn affidavit she
filed in an attempt to overturn the suspension.

Both cases illustrate the uncertainty of what lies

Civil liberties groups and lawyers are already saying the proposed new
legislation goes too far. One can make an argument for that in the
woman's case.

In contrast, the Vancouver man appears to have gotten away with
something, despite reasonable evidence that he was guilty.

Both examples underline the need for clearly defined, consistent legal
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