Canadian police have not seen a spike in cannabis-impaired driving since legalization. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ottawa not looking at changing impaired driving laws despite study on THC levels

Feds say cannabis driving laws are ‘based on strong and indisputable evidence that cannabis is an impairing drug’

The federal government doesn’t plan on changing the legal THC limit for drivers, even after a B.C. study that suggested no connection between now-illegal amounts of the compound and risk of crashing.

A University of B.C. study, published in June in the journal Addictions, looked at THC amounts in blood samples from more than 3,000 people who were injured behind the wheel.

Of the 1,825 drivers deemed responsible in crashes, researchers found that drivers with less than five nanograms of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, per millilitre of blood had no increased risk of crashing.

READ MORE: Low levels of THC in marijuana don’t increase car crashes: B.C. study

Canadians laws make driving with between two and five nanograms per millilitre a summary offence with a fine up to $1,000.

Having more five or more nanograms has a minimum fine of $1,000 and a max sentence of 10 years in jail for the first offence.

Researchers weren’t able determine if more than five nanograms increased the risk of crashing because only 20 drivers had that much, an inconclusive sample.

A spokesperson for federal Justice Department told Black Press Media that cannabis driving laws were “based on strong and indisputable evidence that cannabis is an impairing drug.”

“The prohibited levels also take into account the approach taken in other jurisdictions, including jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized,” spokesperson Ian McLeod said in an email.

The fines for 2 nanograms or less are a “a precautionary approach taking into account the best available scientific evidence related to THC,” while the five nanogram amount indicates recent use, McLeod said.

According to UBC researcheres, THC levels peak above 100 nanograms per millilitre within 15 minutes of smoking pot and then drop to two nanograms or less within the next four hours.

Levels of THC take about eight hours to drop to two nanograms or less after consuming cannabis.

READ MORE: Early data suggests no post-legalization spike in drug-impaired driving charges

READ MORE: Driving with dope: Police talk rules on cannabis in the car

READ MORE: After 10 years of fighting drunk drivers, Alexa’s Team asks: What about pot?


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Change in service: Port Hardy is switching from bi-weekly garbage pick up to weekly schedule

The cost for the weekly garbage pick up service is an additional $30.12 annually.

Cancelling bus service between Campbell River and Port Hardy will compromise health access, region warns

Mount Waddington Health Network says transportation primary factor for rural health access

Badinotti makes cash donations to North Island food banks

‘it’s fantastic that they are supporting community organizations like this’

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

NDP pushing for 10 days of paid sick days for all working Canadians

NDP has made the issue a requirement for their support of the Liberal government

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read