So, one time your Uncle Steve went to a Grateful Dead concert and a bunch of patchouli-scented long-hairs spent the entire time puffing on the devil’s lettuce, and then he spent the rest of his life paranoid after he caught a second-hand high. Oldest story in the book. He told you this and warned you against the evils of gateway drugs, and you listened. You tightrope-walked on a straight-and-narrow path your entire life, never straying and turning into some sort of, Snoop Dogg-like degenerate. But then something changed. Stigmas were less severe. You went to college, and your roommate said he had something that would help open up your mind (and possibly understand what the hell your philosophy prof was talking about), and you did it—you smoked the joint. Your life didn’t fall apart, although you did have a newfound appreciation of crappy jam bands. The government was watching you the whole time, and they used you (yes, you!) as their case study, and on October 17th, 2018, the Government of Canada legalized cannabis (or you know, marijuana, pot, weed, hippy crack, dope, herb, ganja, reefer, mary-jane, etc). Being the responsible adult you are, you want to know how this affects you, and driving. Which is why we’re here to break down the rules of the road for newly legalized cannabis.
“There’s, like, rules, man. Rules!”
First of all, let’s get the rules out of the way, so there’s no confusion. You can smoke weed in Alberta, under these conditions:
- You have to be 18+.
- You have to buy it from an AGLC licensed store, or licensed online retailer.
- The most you can purchase, or have on your person, is 30 grams. Moderation, people!
- If you’ve got a green-thumb (hey you, no giggling!) you can grow a maximum of four plants—per house.
- It is still illegal to smoke in certain public places. If you see a no-smoking sign, no-smoking!
- No edibles yet, so don’t get any bright ideas of serving pot brownies to unknowing guests.
- Keep your kids and pets locked inside your vehicle, since they aren’t allowed in dispensaries.
- Keep that junk in your trunk. It can’t be within reach of people in your vehicle.
And, finally, and most importantly to us today…
Driving high is illegal!
This one should be a no-brainer, folks, and the law says as much. Over the last year, in anticipation of legalization, Alberta has been effecting new laws regarding driving under the influence of cannabis. These include:
- Zero tolerance for cannabis in the bloodstream of GDL drivers (ditto for alcohol).
- This means that even if you aren’t above the legal limit, you will still have an immediate 30-day license suspension, 7-day vehicle seizure, and one year of participating in an ignition interlock program.
- Plus, you’re stuck with your GDL license for two years, one of which can have no suspensions.
Sound tough? That’s because the government is serious. No GDL license, no problem? Not so fast. There are still legal limits to stay within.
Similar to alcohol’s 0.08 percent b.a.c. (blood alcohol concentration), there will be a b.d.c. (blood drug concentration) limit. While driving under the influence of drugs has always been illegal, the government has now come up with a testable b.d.c. limit. If you have 2 ng (nanograms) per ml (millilitre) but less than 5 ng/ml of THC in your system, you’ll be subject to a maximum fine of $1,000. Whereas if you have 5 ng/ml or more of THC, or 2.5 ng/ml plus 50 mg/100ml of alcohol, you’ll face a minimum $1,000 fine and possible jail time. That, plus:
- A 90-day suspension for impaired drivers, and one year of participating in an ignition interlock program.
- Mandatory drug education (it’s not what it sounds like).
- Possible criminal charges.
So, while legalized marijuana has a wealth of potential for creating revenue, can aid in pain reduction and a better quality of life for the sick, and can make even the crappiest of movies wildly entertaining, there’s no place for it on the road. Please, from the crew at Team Ford, don’t drive high.