Canadian police have reported no significant changes in the number of cannabis-related impaired driving crimes post legalization, the Canadian Press reports. However, police say it is too early to release hard data on the issue.
In Ontario, police said the bulk of charges filed under the new law was for driving a vehicle with cannabis readily available; the law requires cannabis products to be out of reach of the driver usually in the trunk.
In Manitoba, that number is just 87 in six months. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Paul Manaigre attributed those charges to people not trying to hide their cannabis products from police in their vehicles.
“We provide a reminder to treat it like alcohol and store in the trunk instead of on the front seat.” – Manaigre, in an email to the Canadian Press.
According to the casual survey of police departments throughout the nation, only in Alberta were there a significant uptick in stoned driving charges. From Oct. 17 to Apr. 10, 58 people were cited with drug-impaired driving charges, compared to 32 during the same six-month period in 2018.
Chief Const. Mike Serr of the Abbotsford, British Columbia Police Department, who co-chairs the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police’s drug advisory committee, said that while officers do crack down on illicit cannabis producers when they come to law enforcement’s attention, they are prioritizing investigations into deadly drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine.
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