The province of Saskatchewan has announced that there will be zero tolerance when it comes to driving while under the influence of drugs.
Minister responsible Joe Hargrave said, “Our government is sending a clear message, while cannabis may soon be legal, driving under the influence is illegal, dangerous to public safety, and will be dealt with harshly.”
According to a recent survey conducted by the Government of Saskatchewan, the majority of people support a zero tolerance when it came to drug use and driving.
“The safety of our citizens is of the utmost importance when developing a framework for the legalization of cannabis, and that includes safety on our roads and highways. Marijuana impairs a driver’s judgment, reaction time, motor co-ordination, and ability to make decisions. Survey respondents made it clear they felt drug use and driving should not mix. The information provided through the survey is valuable to assist us in developing a plan to meet public safety expectations.”
The Estevan Police Service has already made preparations for the forthcoming legalization.
"We do have two officers who have just completed their drug recognition training program," shared Police Chief, Paul Ladouceur. "They are drug recognition experts. They can do a number of tests on individuals to determine if they have drugs in their systems while driving. Those two individuals are now trained. They came back from Florida recently, they were down in the US doing their training. They're both back here now on our service. So we're ready to go when the legislation comes in.
"There are a lot of kinks left to work out, there's a lot of unknowns. How much work that will increase for our service, we don't yet know. We have to see where this goes but certainly we are working at making sure our department is well prepared for when the legislation does come in."
Those convicted of driving while impaired by drugs could face an immediate drivers licence suspension and vehicle seizure and impounding. There is also a one year driving suspension to a maximum of five years, fines from $1,250 to $2,500 and completion of educational programs.