Drug-impaired driving cases continued to rise for the fourth straight year since the Liberal government legalized marijuana in October 2018according to police data collected by Statistics Canada.
In 2019, 6,453 such incidents were reported, a 43% increase from 2018, according to the Canadian Center for Community Justice and Safety Statistics, a department of Statistics Canada. study 2019 released last July.
The latest study, first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter on August 3, also noted that other marijuana-related crimes had increased over the past year.
“Nationally, the total rate of police-reported cannabis offenses under the Cannabis Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act increased for the first time in 9 years, increasing by 5 [percent] in 2021,” the study says.
Police reported a total of 13,560 cases of cannabis-related offenses, most involving illegal imports and exports of marijuana, according to the study.
In April 2017, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-46an act to amend the Criminal Code which sought to strengthen “the criminal response drug-impaired driving in anticipation of cannabis legalization.
The bill, which received royal assent on June 21, 2018allows random road testing of drivers facing a fine of up to $1,000 if they are found to have “a blood drug concentration equal to or greater than the blood drug concentration for the prescribed drug by regulation” within two hours of driving.
The impact of cannabis legalization on impaired driving incidents has been studied by Senator Denise Batters, who asked Yvan Clermontthen director of the Center for Justice Statistics at StatCan, if he had any estimates when he testified before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in February 2018.
“Depending on how the legalization is sorted, in terms of campaigns and everything, I don’t know. And things will be different from one jurisdiction to another. I can’t predict,” Clermont said.
“Do you have any statistics where you asked people if they will use marijuana or if they will use marijuana more often after it is legalized?” The batters asked.
“We didn’t ask for that,” Clermont replied.
In March, Public Safety Canada released a report saying marijuana was a “major contributor” to people dying in car crashes.
“Drug-impaired driving is a major contributor to fatal road crashes, and young people continue to be the largest group of drivers who die in crashes and test positive for drugs” , says the report, titled “Public Opinion Research on Drug-Impaired Driving.” .”
“Among those who have driven a vehicle under the influence of cannabis, most said they did not recognize their behavior as risky, with two in five (39%) saying they did not feel impaired and one in five ( 23%) think they can (still) drive safely.
The report notes that 26% of cannabis users have “drove a vehicle under the influence.”