Is it safer to drive after having a few glasses of wine or after smoking a joint? Even the scientists can’t give us the precise answer to this question. But, as more and more countries legalize marijuana this is becoming a more serious issue. Marijuana is being socially accepted by the public all over the world, but it can be a dangerous substance when it’s not precisely regulated by the law. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is not allowed by the laws, but what defines DUI?

When Liberals won the federal elections, Canada has made the first steps in legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. Marijuana Task Force led by Jody Wilson-Raybould Minister of Justice has recently been set to work on developing new drug policy and finally by spring 2017 it will be over. Besides selling, possessing, using and growing marijuana, other things need to be regulated, like driving under the influence of THC. But until then, Canadians often forget that marijuana is still illegal and even today people are being charged with drug offenses.

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But Canada is certainly not the first country in the world to go through the process of legalization, and hopefully not the last. There are 20 US countries which have legalized marijuana in one way or another, and only Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC legalized it for non-medical use. So, Canada can look up to laws of those countries in order to make its own regulations.

For example, Colorado has a rule that allows five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood for driving. More than five nanograms can get you a penalty of $1000, five days to a year in prison, nine months of driving license suspension or 48 to 96 hours of public service.

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But, the thing is, THC level in blood is hard to detect with precision. Breathalyzer test can not detect THC, only alcohol in the blood. For detecting THC a saliva sample is needed, and there is no official device for that kind of test. But, police officers are using pilot versions of THC detecting devices all over the USA and Canada. Also, there are other methods to assure if someone has been driving while high as a part of sobriety test, like horizontal gaze nystagmus test, walk and turn test, and one-leg stand. After failing to do these tasks drivers can be asked to provide blood or urine sample.

Thin informative and educational infographic briefly describes the difference between driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and driving while intoxicated. Also, it makes a noticeable comparison of laws and regulations concerning drunk driving and driving while high in those US countries and Canada.

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So, will Canada be making a similar legal framework in the next few months? We will have to wait and see the outcome if the progress in the near future. Let’s take a look at the infographic comparing the marijuana laws and driving offenses, penalties, and practices in the US and Canada.

Criminal Offences - Drunk Driving vs High Driving


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