Cannabis Legalization & Alberta's Impaired Driving Laws

The upcoming legalization of cannabis has many people wondering how this will affect them or their loved ones who may be sharing the road with individuals under the influence. Because there is currently no drug test that accurately tests for impairment, there is grey area around how to determine whether or not an individual is impaired by cannabis at a particular moment in time.

Last month, we wrote about Bill C-46 which provided some insight into how Canada is planning on tackling concerns with cannabis impaired driving. You can catch up with that post here. While it is great that the federal government has taken a stand and provided clearer guidelines, it leaves many of us wondering how this affects us on a provincial level. Alberta has released the changes to their alcohol and drug impaired driving laws, which will now align with the federal changes. Ultimately, cannabis will be treated similarly to alcohol and other illegal drugs in that you cannot be impaired while behind the wheel.

Zero Tolerance for Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Drivers
Like alcohol, there will be a zero tolerance for cannabis in the system of a GDL driver. If found, the drivers are now subject to a 30-day license suspension and 7-day vehicle seizure.

License Suspension Program
Drivers over the legal limit for cannabis or a combination of cannabis/alcohol, those who refuse to provide a fluid sample or are reasonably suspected to be criminally impaired are subject to 90-day license suspensions, 3-day vehicle seizure, and mandatory education.

Blood-drug Concentration Limits
Concentration limits have been updated to mimic the federal drug laws, fines depending on what a drivers blood concentration level is, and the severity of the incident.

It is comforting to know that although cannabis is becoming legalized, it does not mean that individuals can consume cannabis products while operating a motor vehicle. Like alcohol, which we can legally enjoy recreationally, it causes varying degrees of impairment to those who consume it. Having guidelines and a firm stance on driving under the influence will assist the general public with feeling safe on the roads.

Source: https://www.alberta.ca/impaired-driving-law-changes.aspx

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