VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Less than a year to go before recreational marijuana is legal across Canada and concerns remain about how to make sure users don’t get behind the wheel stoned.
There are higher impaired driving statistics in some places where pot has already been legalized. Over the last two years, Arizona, Colorado and Washington have recorded spikes in fatal crashes with up to 35 per cent of the drivers who died testing positive for marijuana.
Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says he’s already working with Ottawa to keep that from happening in BC.
“There’s been work being done on that at the federal level. Bill C-46 — the federal legislation that is dealing with that and the issue of drug-impaired driving is certainly front and centre for the province and the federal government.”
He adds work has been ongoing at a federal level to make sure people stay safe. “They’ve indicated that there is funding in terms of the type of equipment that’s going to be required, as well as training for officers for when legalization does take place. I know there’s work being done in terms of the kinds of devices that they will be able to use for testing for drug-impaired driving. We’re working closely with the feds on that issue.”
Ontario’s also planning to introduce new penalties for drug-impaired drivers before July. There will be zero tolerance for anyone under the age of 21 and all commercial drivers. Penalties are also going up in that province which plans to sell pot in government-run liquor stores.
Farnworth is holding a news conference in Vancouver on Monday morning to announce the next steps the provincial government is taking to develop a framework for non-medical cannabis regulation in BC.
The federal government is aiming to legalize recreational marijuana by July 1st, 2018.