ith Canada’s recreational cannabis market set to go live on October 17, police forces across the country are training to identify high drivers. This is what you can expect if you’re stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence of cannabis, according to an RCMP drug recognition expert.
If you get pulled over, the first thing the officer will do is administer a breathalyzer to see if alcohol is the actual cause of impairment. You will then be taken through what is a pretty standard set of drunk tests. The officer will check your pulse, ask you some questions, have you walk a straight line and so on. New legislation will also be enacted in December of 2018 to allow police to perform a saliva test that can detect the presence of numerous substances, not just cannabis. (This move is controversial because positive saliva tests can occur days after someone has consumed cannabis.)
If the officer finds probable grounds for assuming impairment, they will take you back to the police station for further evaluation. Blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature will be taken and medical conditions will be evaluated as potential culprits. You will also be asked to perform a set of multitasking tests such as tilting your head back, closing your eyes, and then touching your nose.
If the office still believes you’re impaired at this point, you will be asked to provide a blood or urine sample. The findings of this test will be the last say in the matter.
With an estimated time investment of 30 minutes to an hour to complete the whole process, this could be quite a time suck on people who receive a false positive. But this is the reality that drivers will be dealing with until more sophisticated forms of impairment detection are developed. And if losing an hour out of the day now and then saves lives, it’s definitely worth the inconvenience.
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