On October 17th, 2018, Canadians across the country celebrated the legalization of cannabis in Canada. This means that Canadians can no longer be arrested or charged for the personal possession and consumption of cannabis. However, with legalization comes regulation; much like alcohol, there are rules which govern what we can and cannot do with cannabis.
As a licensed school under the BC Motor Vehicle Act, we are in the position of playing messenger between the lawmakers, law enforcement, and the general public. However Canadians everywhere can expect uncertainty and inconsistency as the rules & laws evolve, as well as protocols and procedures on the enforcement of these laws.
We will do our best to update this page as information becomes available. Information on this page will be limited to the cannabis regulations as they pertain to the BC Motor Vehicle Act. Here’s what we know at the moment:
Getting behind the wheel while impaired is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. Drug-affected drivers can face serious consequences like fines, licence prohibitions and jail-time. Learn more about the federal laws and consequences here.
British Columbia made changes to the Motor Vehicle Act, to provide police with more tools to address and deter drug-affected driving. Upcoming changes include zero-tolerance for the presence of drugs, such as THC, for new drivers in the province’s Graduated Licensing Program, and a 90-day administrative driving prohibition for any drug-impaired driver or driver with a blood drug concentration equal to or exceeding the legal limits under the Motor Vehicle Act.
Drug-affected driving is illegal. Police in B.C. are trained to detect and deter drug-affected driving and have multiple tools to investigate impaired driving. If a police officer suspects a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is affected by a drug, including cannabis, or a combination of drugs and alcohol, the officer may require a driver to submit to a Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST).
Following the SFST, if the police officer believes that a person’s ability to drive is affected by a drug, or a combination of a drug and alcohol, the officer may require a person to:
- Submit to a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation and provide a bodily fluid sample or;
- The officer may make a demand for a sample of blood.
Regulations & Penalties
There are penalties for the improper possession, transport, and consumption of cannabis, including fines & points, as well as driving prohibitions & suspensions.
Changes made or being made to the Motor Vehicle Act as well as the Criminal Code include the following:
- A person must not consume cannabis while
- operating a vehicle or boat, or
- in or on a vehicle or boat being operated by another person.
- A person must not operate a vehicle or boat if the person knows that another person is smoking or vaping cannabis in the vehicle or boat
- These laws apply regardless of whether the vehicle or boat is in motion.
- An adult must not operate a vehicle, whether or not the vehicle is in motion, while
- the adult has personal possession of cannabis, or
- there is cannabis in the vehicle.
- Though this does not apply if the cannabis
- was produced by a federal producer, is still in the packaging from its purchase by a consumer and the packaging has never been opened,
- is not readily accessible to the driver and any passengers in the vehicle, or
- is no more than 4 cannabis plants that are not budding or flowering.
Sharing the Road
As motorcyclists, we are all well aware of the risks and dangers that are inherent to this form of transportation. Many riders have more than one story about a close call involving another vehicle. We all know that the motorist next to you, in front or behind you, may be distracted by texting or holding their phone. Now we need to be aware that they may also be driving while high. So ride safe, scan and shoulder check like your life depends on it, and when in doubt, keep your distance from motorists and vehicles who are driving erratically or unpredictably.
~Brian Antonio, School Director
ProRide Motorcycle Training