Kamloops MP concerned over pot-impaired driving investigations

By Ashley Legassic
October 10, 2018 - 1:52pm

KAMLOOPS — A local member of parliament is sounding off about potential impaired driving investigation issues once marijuana is legalized later this month.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod says she's concerned about comments made by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould regarding pot-impaired driving investigations. 

"We have people that are going to be on the roads, we know from other jurisdictions that once the product is legalized that you're going to have more people on the road impaired and, to be frank, I have no tolerance for people and impaired driving," McLeod says.

In a TV interview with the West Block, Wilson-Raybould said a decision on whether to lay charges will depend on the situation, and charges will be considered on a "case-by-case basis" following the anticipated cannabis legalization in Canada on Oct. 17. McLeod decried that statement, saying this confirms there is no conclusive way to determine if someone is driving high.

"It's not like alcohol where at .08 or .05 they can be definitive with the testing and they also know that people are impaired at that level," McLeod says. "They don't have anything similar for cannabis."

The federal government has approved the Drager saliva drug test to be used at roadside, but there has been skepticism around the tool. There are concerns about the Drager's ability to function properly in cold weather, and court challenges could arise due to the lack of a reliable testing method, McLeod says.

McLeod claims the test could also produce false positive results, which could create challenges for people who aren't driving impaired.

"It's a real blind area and quite frankly I have huge concerns in terms of what's going to be happening on our roads and also what's going to be happening in our court system," McLeod says. 

She adds there have been concerns raised over potential backlogging of the already overwhelmed court system.

"More importantly than court challenges is the fact that we're likely to have more impaired people on the road causing significant challenges."

UPDATE: Missing Kamloops teen found