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Cannabis has been legal in Canada since October 17. Subject to certain provincial restrictions, adults 18 years of age and older can legally own, share, purchase and grow this product.

Although legal, cannabis use is not safe, especially when it comes to driving. In this instance, it is even prohibited throughout the province, since it can significantly affect driving ability.

Find out how cannabis affects an individual’s driving ability.

Driving a vehicle under the influence of cannabis

Research shows that cannabis has a significant effect on driving. This research reveals that cannabis slows reaction time and decision-making ability. Driving under the influence of marijuana increases the chance of a fatal accident by 300%.

Clearly identifying the impaired driving ability of a cannabis user

Cannabis is known to affect driving. However, not all individuals have the same reaction to marijuana. To properly determine a person’s impaired driving ability, several factors come into play. First, it is necessary to determine the mode of consumption. Has cannabis been ingested, inhaled or smoked? In addition, it is necessary to determine the amount of cannabis that has been consumed by the individual, as well as the THC level of the variety consumed, which may be significantly different from one type to another. Already, we understand that it is sometimes very difficult to determine the amount an individual can consume before it becomes dangerous.

Cannabis’ effects on an individual’s ability to drive

To what extent does cannabis affect an individual’s ability to drive? Marijuana is known to impair judgment, motor coordination, concentration and reaction time. This means that it affects your driving ability. More specifically, cannabis use affects the driver’s concentration and ability to correctly perceive time and distance. As a result, cannabis use can lead to poor speed control, drowsiness, distractions and decreased ability to read road signs correctly. Cannabis use therefore prevents the driver from staying alert and focused.

The glaring problem with studies on cannabis use and driving

However, things are not quite so simple. Unlike alcohol, whose blood alcohol level can be accurately measured, THC in cannabis can be detected in the human body days or even weeks after use. Therefore, tests used by police officers can detect the presence of cannabis in a driver’s system long after the driver has consumed it.

Measures for avoiding driving under the influence of cannabis

Impaired driving is inexcusable. Not only is driving under the influence of cannabis dangerous for the driver, but it also puts the lives of passengers, pedestrians and other motorists at risk. An individual who uses cannabis should not drive because there are other options available to them. This includes asking a friend to drive in their place, taking public transit or calling a taxi or safe ride service.

Call a specialist lawyer to defend against impaired driving charges

Cannabis greatly affects a driver’s motor skills, reaction time, memory and concentration. In addition to increasing the risk of collisions, driving under the influence of cannabis is a Criminal Code offence that can result in legal action.

To learn more about the legal consequences of cannabis behind the wheel, or if you are currently the subject of a lawsuit and need legal advice following an arrest under the influence of cannabis, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm.