Legalized pot has not resulted in a spike in impaired charges. (Black Press Media file photo)

No big spike in impaired charges since pot legalized

RCMP accounts for majority of investigations in B.C.

Rick Stiebel

News Staff

Statistics show the legalization of cannabis a little more than a year ago has not resulted in much of a spike in impaired driving charges.

It was an offence to drive impaired prior to legalization on Oct. 17, 2018, and that hasn’t changed, noted RCMP Corp. Mike Halskov, media relations officer for traffic services with RCMP “E” Division headquarters in Surrey.

Halskov said people who drove under the influence of cannabis before the new legislation took effect may continue to do so, despite the change in law.

“Those that did not use cannabis prior to the new legislation are not likely to change their habits due to legalization and if they do, I suggest the number would be insignificant. So the overall number is not likely to change much, if at all. Based on that, we didn’t really anticipate a major spike. The overarching message is that people who are going to drive impaired will continue with that behaviour.”

Looking at the situation another way, Halskov said if someone is a non-drinker, it doesn’t mean that they will start drinking just because it’s legal.

READ ALSO: What happens to cannabis products seized by the provincial government?

The most current information available to Halskov from the National Drug Recognition Expert with National RCMP Traffic Services includes data for this year up to Aug. 1. The RCMP and municipal police agencies in B.C. have pursued 455 drug-impaired investigations, with the RCMP accounting for 343 of the 455 investigations. Of those, 140 were advanced solely for criminal charges. Seventy investigations were advanced solely for administrative-sanctions, and 182 were advanced for both criminal and administrative charges. In 30 cases, police released with no charge, and 30 are still under police investigation.

The prosecutorial process in B.C. requires officers to submit all evidence to Crown Counsel on submission of a court brief. Of the 455 drug-impaired investigations submitted by police, 414 are still under investigation. The majority of those are awaiting toxicological results, and 37 have been concluded by administrative sanction. Four cases have not been approved by Crown Counsel or through court process.

Police have been conducting impaired driving investigations in Canada since the 192os. It was a criminal offence to drive while impaired by cannabis before legalization and remains that way, Halskov said. The new legislation has provided police with additional tools to investigate impaired driving, including mandatory breath testing, he added.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


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

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets

Owners of non-socialized dogs seek safe space following closure of Cedar Hill Corner

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

It is not clear yet whether Sidney will renovate nearby dam at the same time

Public to weigh in on Colwood Royal Bay development Monday

Application to rezone lands north of Latoria Boulevard submitted to council

Camp fun still offered in Greater Victoria

Easter Seals offers day camp options to replace cancelled overnight camps

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read