Canadians complain about new driving laws under the influence of medical cannabis
New hard cannabis impaired driving rules are creating a disastrous effect among medical cannabis users in Canada. A woman, named Michelle Gray, was in the news during the last weeks because of the problems she had after identifying herself as a user of medical cannabis in a police control on the road.
Michelle was stopped by police and after passing an alcohol test, the officers told her they could smell cannabis in the car. She said she was using medical cannabis to treat her menstrual syndrome. Immediately, the police asked to park the car for a second and deeper test to detect presence of drugs.
Of course, Michelle failed the test because the result was positive in THC. She was arrested and taken to the police station where she was obliged to undergo some disturbing tests.
Even though she knew she was not impaired by cannabis, she expressed her concern about being arrested because of her medical problem. MS modifies her balance and can cause problems for her short-term memory; two things that are evaluated by the expert.
Fortunately, after the tests, the expert concluded that Michelle was not impaired, no matter what the previous drug test made by the police said. She finally was released.
Aside from the nasty and disturbing process of being arrested, she was given a driving prohibition and a car impoundment because she had failed roadside drug test.
Is not a contradiction? In other words: a woman who used medical cannabis and was not impaired at the time of driving, according to the police expert, was penalized by police for being impaired while driving. It is quite difficult to understand.
Amazingly, the penalties Michelle were given were because she failed drug test alone. Even though later she proved not to be impaired by her medical cannabis, this fact did not save her from the expenses related with being given a driving suspension and car impoundment.
Giving penalties based on roadside screening devices is not being accepted by medical cannabis users. Because, at least in the theory, they have not been are not created for punitive purposes. They were created to screen. They are simply a way to determine if a driver should be taken for a more precise testing.
Severe punishments such as driving prohibitions, fines and car impoundment generated by roadside screening devices are not fair.
The Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme has been always contested in the court since its creation. It has become an important expense for tax payers, especially among motorists who have been depriving of their vehicles due to inaccurate test results.
In addition, the problems increase when the roadside testing devices don’t work properly. The only approved screening device in Canada is the Draeger Drug Test 5000.
When this device was firstly introduced in Canada, the police did not know how to make it operate properly. In addition, this device can fail when the temperature is higher than 40 degrees Celsius and lower than four. Moreover, there are quite a few potential failures with the device that could affect drivers’ liberties.
On top of it, the roadside drug testing device only detects drugs in the oral fluid but cannot detect impairment.
Therefore, what happened to Michelle is just one of a large list of innocent drivers who are being arrested on the basis of roadside drug test results.
She has said she wanted to launch a constitutional challenge to avoid situations like the one happened to her. But obtaining results will be difficult and will take time. In the meantime, many cannabis users who drive are suffering this situation.