Driving under impairment could lead to suspension of your license or impounding of your car among other measures. While this legislation has existed for years, you should now be wary of your marijuana use habits especially after the approval of a second roadside drug testing kit. The Canadian government prepares to approve the long-awaited move after the recommendation of Abbott SoToxa by a committee of the Canadian Society of Forensic Science.
The passage of the Canadian Bill C-45 in June 2018 saw marijuana legalized for recreational use in the vast territory. Ever since the consumption of cannabis has skyrocketed prompting the government to seek intervention, especially for road users. If the kit successfully makes it through the 30-day public review window, then traffic officers will get more arsenals for drug testing at their disposal.
The kit in question consists of three pieces of equipment; the SoToxa analyzer, sample collection device, and a cartridge for holding the sample. This will enable law enforcement officers to swab saliva and test for the presence of THC (the psychoactive element in marijuana) by the roadside. A positive result of the test is an indication of recent use, which is against Bill C-46. The law requires drivers not to drive within two hours of marijuana use.
On June 19, 2018, the Senate passed Bill C-45 legalizing recreational use of cannabis. However, not all of the 40 amendments were accepted as 13 of them were rejected. This saw a historic 90-year prohibition of the controversial marijuana come to an end. With the approval of the Abbott SoToxa saliva test kit, it is clear the Canadian government is out to protect citizens from the side effects of the drug.
Bill C-45 was passed alongside Bill C-46 which gives the police authority to conduct drug screenings on the roadside. Police can only conduct a saliva test after reasonable suspicion that a driver has consumed drugs. For instance, you could be subjected to the trial if you have bloodshot eyes or by simply bearing the smell of marijuana. This is unlike the law for alcohol breath tests as police officers do not need any suspicion to subject you to the test.
Although a positive result on the Abbott kit is not a crime by itself, the results can prompt officers to take further action such as taking a blood test. Drivers can still not be convicted unless they are found to have a legal impairment. A positive test though may cause inconveniences including fines and license suspension.
Even without the SoToxa saliva test kit, police can still arrest drivers suspected to have taken cannabis. Standard field sobriety tests are still in use such as tracking an object with the naked eye or walking in a straight line. Police also use the Drager Drug Testing 5000 kit for road testing although its performance in cold weather has been greatly criticized.
Approval of the Abbott saliva test kit will give the police more ground to say okay for a blood test. However, there might be some resistance ordering the devices partly due to price as well as granting time to observe their performance. Police forces also want more devices approved as options.