With the passing of the Cannabis Act, DUI and impaired driving laws were updated include impairment by cannabis. Essentially, the laws were rewritten in such a manner as to distinguish between impairment by alcohol and impairment by drugs.
If one is arrested, charged, convicted, and found guilty of impaired driving under the influence of cannabis, they will face the same penalties and consequences of being found guilty of an alcohol DUI. These could include, but may not be limited to:
- Fines up to $1,000 for first-time offenders through a summary conviction with a THC level of 2 to 5 ng.
- Mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 with a THC level of 5 ng or higher.
- Mandatory imprisonment periods ranging from one month to 120 days in jail for repeat offenders.
- Mandatory license suspensions from 3 days to 90 days or longer for repeat offenders.
- Vehicle impoundment for up to one week.
- The recording of the criminal offence on your criminal record.
- The Court may require you to complete a driver education course, which you will have to pay for yourself.
- The Court may require you to pay for the installation and use of an interlock device.
How Are Screenings for Cannabis Impairment Conducted?
The police can conduct a roadside screening and evaluation during a normal traffic stop and RIDE Program checkpoints. The most common screening test being used is a saliva test. This test can screen for cannabis use over the past 6 hours or so. If you refuse, then you can be charged with refusing to provide a sample offence.
The police will examine how well you speak, answer their questions, how your speech sounds, and whether your eyes looked glazed over or the pupils are dilated. They will also look for cannabis to be out in the open and the smell of it.
If they suspect you are impaired by cannabis, then they will take you into custody. They will perform a more detailed screening and evaluation to determine THC levels at the station. To determine exact THC levels, they may request a urine or blood sample.
Is It Okay to Drive with an NG Level Less Than 2 NG?
Ontario has a ZERO tolerance for driving while under the influence of cannabis. This means, that even if your ng levels are below 2 ng, you can still be charged with impairment by drugs.
Are There Restrictions on Transporting Cannabis Inside a Vehicle?
Yes, there are certain restrictions one must follow when transporting cannabis inside a vehicle in Ontario. The cannabis must be sealed in its original packaging and not be in reach of the driver. If there are passengers in the vehicle, the cannabis must also not be easily accessible by passengers. It is best to transport recreational cannabis by placing it in the trunk, where it will not be easily accessible.