The federal government has released a draft of its planned drug concentration levels but admits the new rules provide no guidance on how much marijuana it would take to push a driver over the legal limit.
“It should be noted that THC is a more complex molecule than alcohol and the science is unable to provide general guidance to drivers about how much cannabis can be consumed before it is unsafe to drive or before the proposed levels would be exceeded,” an analysis statement released with the draft regulations said.
“That is a tricky and perhaps unconstitutional proposition when we’re looking at criminal sanctions,” said Ottawa criminal defence lawyer Michael Spratt.
Spratt’s primary concern is that the summary conviction would mean a criminal record for people who aren’t even considered impaired under the regulations. That can make it harder to travel internationally and create problems when volunteering or applying for a new job or housing.
“We’re going to stigmatize a large number of people who are not acting — according to the regulations — in a dangerous manner,” said Spratt.
Lesser penalties that wouldn’t result in a criminal record would be a better option, Spratt suggests, such as a licence suspension or even impounding the driver’s car.
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