As the province grapples with how it’ll monitor and enforce safe driving once marijuana is legalized next year, a Health Canada survey suggests police will have their hands full.
In the national survey that included roughly 9,200 responses, 39 per cent of the 2,600 who admitted to smoking pot said they’ve driven within two hours of getting high.
By age group, 43 per cent of self-reported pot users aged 20 to 24 years admitted to driving under the influence of cannabis within two hours of smoking the substance. About 28 per cent of those aged 16 to 19 also said they’d gotten behind the wheel.
Respondents were also asked for their opinions on how cannabis use affects driving.
About 75 per cent of all respondents reported that they think that cannabis use affects driving, while 19 per cent of pot users said it did not affect driving.
When asked how long a person should wait before driving, approximately 35 per cent of respondents said “it depends” followed by “don’t know” (23.5 per cent).
While the survey was conducted last spring, its release comes at the same time as the Senate considers proposed legislation that would help police forces at provincial and municipal levels deal with drug-impaired drivers.
Under Bill C-46, people found to have two nanograms of THC – the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis – per millilitre of blood within two hours of driving could be fined up to $1,000.
Meanwhile, drivers with more than five nanograms could face up to 10 years in jail.
In B.C., the government has put a hold on its own legislation for driving under the influence of cannabis, awaiting what is finalized at a federal level before July 2018.