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

Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk 2020 opens Aug. 7

This year’s event features 27 businesses and 28 artists

Rodeo clinic, ranch visit entertains First Nations youth and elders in B.C.’s Interior

A fun time had for Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation at C+ Rodeos

Studies show Mount Polley Mine breach material re-suspends in Quesnel Lake

High copper levels continue in Quesnel River six years after breach

Drugs, cash seized by Quesnel RCMP during raid on rural property over long weekend

Police seized 507 grams of methamphetamine, 750 ecstasy capsules, 20 grams of cocaine

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

Interior Health expands COVID-19 testing access in Kelowna

First-come, first-serve, no-appointment-needed testing centre opens in downtown Kelowna

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Most Read