CAA Manitoba President Tim Scott.
What you need to know to keep our roads safe.
Last year, Canada became the second country to legalize the consumption and sale of recreational cannabis (Uruguay was first in 2013). But this was only phase one of the cannabis rollout here. Phase two, slated for the upcoming one-year anniversary of legalization, includes the introduction of edible cannabis products for sale. Edibles may take the form of chocolates, candies, cookies and other goods.
Regardless of how you consume cannabis, it’s still illegal to drive while impaired. Educating Manitobans about the impairing effects of cannabis has been an ongoing effort, but there is still a common misconception that the drug doesn’t impact your ability to drive. This is not only untrue, but there’s also a difference between how cannabis affects your body when it’s smoked versus consumed in food. As edibles are introduced, it is crucial that consumers understand the difference.
The high from smoking or vaping (inhaling through an electronic device) can take effect in just minutes; the intensity of the high is quicker and has different lingering impacts. But it can take an hour or more to feel the results of ingesting edibles. This longer lead time might make people think it’s not working, so they take more. Or they could mistakenly believe they’re not getting high and make poor decisions—like getting behind the wheel before the drug kicks in.
The best deterrent is public education—about the impacts of consumption on the ability to drive, and enforcement efforts and penalties to those who break the law. CAA joined Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, to announce public education funding and additional roadside screening tools to detect drugs in a driver’s system. In May, the federal government pledged $24.5 million for further research.
CAA Manitoba continues to advocate on your behalf by calling for additional funding and research, and supporting enforcement to keep our roads safe.