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

Task force brainstorms on support for Semiahmoo homeless community

Community service providers gather to discuss options for housing, income safety and more

Two people reportedly sent to hospital after two-vehicle collision in Surrey

Collision happened on the 16500-block of 64 Avenue

South Surrey couple donates $250K to students in honour of late son

Joseph Chung Scholarship Fund helps out 100 post-secondary students

Surrey RCMP investigate report of explosion at home

‘Emotionally elevated’ person taken ‘safely’ into custody: police

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Kobe Bryant killed in California helicopter crash: reports

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Most Read