4 things Peel residents need to know about pot and driving

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1. You can’t drive impaired.

Though the legalization of marijuana is new, impaired driving laws are not. It has always been illegal to drive a motor vehicle while your ability to do so is impaired — whether that’s by alcohol, pot or any other drug, prescription or otherwise. Peel police officers will perform a Standardized Field Sobriety Test on the roadside. Officers specially trained as “drug recognition experts” or DREs will then evaluate the driver’s impairment. If you fail the test, you will be charged.

2. It’s just as dangerous as driving drunk

Cannabis slows your reaction time and driving under the influence increases your chances of being in a collision. The penalties for driving impaired are the same whether your abilities are impaired by alcohol, pot or any other substance. They include an immediate licence suspension, fines and the possibility of vehicle impoundment, a criminal record and jail.

3. No law yet governing how much is too much

Legal limits on how much cannabis you can have in your system before you drive won’t be set until December 2018. Peel police have ordered roadside testing devices for cannabis. Meanwhile, existing impaired driving laws remain, setting a legal limit for alcohol at 50 mg and 80 mg in 100 mL of blood.

4. Zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers

If you are under 22 years old, have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence, if you are driving a vehicle that requires an A-F driver’s licence or a commercial vehicle licence, or if you drive road construction equipment, you cannot drive with any non-prescribed cannabis in your system. None. Regardless of what the legal limits are for all other drivers, which will be set in December (see above).

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