The scariest thing about the potential legalization of marijuana is all of the unknowns associated with it. Will people walk around smoking weed in public places? Will everyone assume, despite public service announcements and new impaired driving laws, that it’s perfectly fine to drive after smoking marijuana?
It’s not just the general public who are considering what might happen; legal experts and lawmakers are weighing in, and they’re using these questions to push forward and find ways to cover all the bases before legalization of marijuana occurs.
Impaired driving crashes could increase
Legalization of marijuana has already happened in several states in the USA, so Canadian lawmakers already have concrete data on what may happen after. Since legalization in Washington State, they’ve found that the percentage of drivers who die in impaired driving crashes with marijuana in their system has doubled. Colorado, another state who’s legalized cannabis, found that crashes with a driver under the influence of cannabis increased by 44%.
Legalization of marijuana could increase teen crashes
According to a legal expert for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), surveys on impaired driving crashes involving people aged 16 to 24 found that many of these drivers were under the influence of marijuana. Teen impaired driving crashes are already a huge problem in Canada, and legal experts expect the number of crashes to rise after anyone over the age of 18 is able to legally purchase marijuana.
The bottom line is that it’s illegal to drive under the influence of any substance in Canada. Whether that be drugs or alcohol, you will be penalized with fines, fees, and the ignition interlock program if you choose to drive after drinking or using cannabis.
These impaired driving laws have been put into place for your safety and the safety of everyone on the roads with you. When legalization does happen, everyone should keep in mind that it’s all the same: driving high or driving drunk, you’ll be charged with impaired driving for both.