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Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

The federal government is boosting funding to help British Columbia police officers recognize drug-impaired drivers, months after it legalized recreational cannabis.

Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair announced funding of $10.1 million over five years to increase the number of officers trained in field sobriety testing and drug recognition.

READ MORE: Early data suggests no post-legalization spike in drug-impaired driving charges

Blair told reporters at a news conference at the Vancouver Police Department that those who believe they aren’t impaired after consuming cannabis are dangerously misinformed and they will be caught.

The funding is part of $81 million announced by the Canadian government for provinces and territories to support road safety and other public initiatives.

The Canadian Press has canvassed police forces across the country and many reported no noticeable spike in stoned driving since legalization, including the Vancouver Police Department.

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test, the Drager DrugTest 5000, over concern about how its results will hold up in court.

READ MORE: Impaired driving laws creates different classes of offenders, says B.C. lawyer

Drager has defended its test, saying it was never designed to test for impairment, but to identify the presence of THC, the chemical responsible for the high in cannabis, and it’s just one tool of many that police use to assess road safety.

The Canadian Press

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