Pubdate: Wed, 15 Nov 2017
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Elizabeth Cameron
Page: 6


Police say they're satisfied with provincial legislation Calgary

There is currently zero tolerance for any alcohol in the system of a
new driver in Alberta, and the province announced it intends to extend
that ban to include marijuana.

Alberta began putting the legislative pieces in place for legalized
marijuana on Tuesday, starting with changes to align its rules with
pending federal Criminal Code amendments.

"Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death and injury in
Canada,'' Transportation Minister Brian Mason said after introducing
Bill 29 in the legislature. "If this bill passes, it will support our
government's goal of zero impairment (and) related collisions and
fatalities on Alberta roads.''

Recreational cannabis is anticipated to be legal across Canada as of
July 1, 2018 and the federal government is revising and toughening
criminal charges for impaired driving to include cannabis and mixing
cannabis with alcohol while behind the wheel.

The new Criminal Code rules will see a fine for a driver with less
than five nanograms of THC, the cannabis compound that gives the user
a "high'' in their bloodstream.

Stiffer fines and eventually mandatory jail time could be imposed for
those caught with five nanograms or more.

Ottawa is bringing in a roadside saliva test to check for drug
impairment, and the rules are expected to be in place when marijuana
is legalized.

Acting Sgt. Andrew Fairman with the Calgary Police Service's Alcohol
and Drug Recognition Unit said oral fluid testing would be a useful
tool for frontline officers.

"The announcement that there's going to be oral fluid possibilities is
certainly going to assist us to detect the drug impaired driver at
roadside, although CPS has been training frontline officers in the
standardized field sobriety test to detect drug impaired drivers for
several years now," Fairman told reporters on Tuesday.

He said so far, he's satisfied with the legislation that's been
brought forward.

"Anything that we can do to improve our ability to detect and
prosecute drug impaired drivers is going to certainly assist - from
what I've seen of the legislation, we'll have to wait and see what
comes out with the federal government - but I don't see how we could
go any further at this point," Fairman said.

The federal government has said it will give $81 million to the
provinces and territories over the next five years to update police on
checking and testing for drug-impaired driving.

The changes are just one part of the new legal marijuana regime - on
Thursday the province is rolling out legislation to back up its plan
on how it will sell cannabis while balancing public safety.

The federal government will handle overall health rules but the
provinces will decide how to distribute and sell cannabis.
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