One of the major critiques of plans to legalize marijuana is related to people driving under the influence of weed, and the difficulties in policing such behavior. But in Canada, the largest country to regulate marijuana yet — and a nation with some of the highest rates of drunk driving in the world — law enforcement agencies are reporting that there has been no noticeable spike in such arrests since federal legalization.
A survey by the Canadian Press of the country’s police forces echoed early post-legalization reports, finding that most had seen no rise in DUI cannabis arrests. “But most police departments are still really focusing on the drugs that we know that are killing people, the opiates and methamphetamines that are causing major concerns across the country,” said Chief Constable Mike Serr, co-chairperson of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police’s drug advisory committee.
Many departments queried via the survey said they had actually recommended less charges for driving while stoned, although Alberta police did report 58 such charges since federal legalization, in comparison to 32 charges levied during the same six months last year.
As they did in November, many agencies are reporting the prioritization of driver education around proper storage of cannabis while driving, emphasizing that it should be kept safely in the trunk as one would with alcohol containers.
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