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Driving High: Marijuana Legalization and Vehicle Operation

Posted by Daniel K. Topp on 18 December 2018
Driving High: Marijuana Legalization and Vehicle Operation

Elements of Canada's Cannabis Act have been under continuous scrutiny since the drug's legalization in October. While there are still a few kinks to be worked out in regards to the distribution, accessibility, and purchase, there are things set in stone regarding road safety and driving.

Here's what you need to know about marijuana and driving laws in Ontario:

Can I drive under the influence of cannabis?

Driving high is against the law in Ontario. You may face license suspensions, fines, criminal charges and even jail time if you are found to be driving under the influence of drugs.

How much marijuana can I consume and drive?

Though impairment may vary from person to person based on consumption method, quantity, and varying THC levels in the product, there are currently no guidelines on acceptable consumption limits for Ontario drivers. Any amount over 2 mg/ml may face criminal charges and/or fines.

Be advised that as per the Canadian government, until the science improves, Canada takes a zero-tolerance approach to drug impaired driving.

Does cannabis affect my driving abilities?

Cannabis in any quantity has the potential to affect your:

  • Motor Skills
  • Reaction Time
  • Decision Making
  • Concentration and Memory

Each of the above in any combination or singularly can impact your driving and reaction time in case of unexpected events.

How is cannabis tested for and enforced on the roads?

Canada is continuing to invest in SFST (standardized field sobriety test) and DRE (drug recognition expert) training to increase safety on our roads. These specialists in drug and alcohol impairment are trained to use a variety of methods to recognize the state of a driver including breathalysers, toxicological exams and interviews.  For a full breakdown of road enforcement, visit the RCMP website.

What is Bill C-46?

Bill C-46 is a two-part bill that's an amendment to the Criminal Code dealing with offences and procedures relating to drug- and alcohol-impaired driving. This bill provides police officers enhanced powers to determine field sobriety, allowing them to demand a breath sample from any driver that is lawfully stopped.

Bill C-46 Part I : THC Concentration Limits

Part I of Bill C-46 introduced three new offences related to drug-impaired motorists based on the concentration of THC in the bloodstream measured in nanograms per mililitre (ng/ml).

  • Low-Level THC (2ng/ml - <5ng/ml) will face a $1,000 fine
  • Higher-Level THC (>5ng/ml) will face a fine of $1,000 to 120 days in jail
  • Combined effects of THC and alcohol consumption (50 mg/100ml + >2.5ng/ml) will face a fine of $1,000 to 120 days in jail

Individual provinces may add additional penalties on top of the above.


Have you been charged with driving high? Protect your rights and reputation by contacting Topp Law for consultation, and to help you through the complicated process.



Author:Daniel K. Topp
About: For the better part of 20 years, my law office has been serving residents of Southwestern Ontario, including Windsor, Essex, Chatham and Sudbury by offering strong legal representation in criminal matters. Practicing criminal law has always been my passion, even from childhood. Growing up, I had a chance to watch my father, a seasoned criminal lawyer, serve the legal system. This was what inspired me to pursue a career in the same field. Over the years, I had a chance to observe, learn and receive guidance from him. After working hard at University and then Law School, I entered the legal profession at the young age of 23, and have been practising nothing but criminal law since. I have lived and breathed criminal defence law my whole life. And now with over 15 years of experience in this field, vigorously defending my clients I am in a unique position to assist you. If you need help, please contact my office today.

100 Ouellette Avenue, Suite 701,
Windsor, ON N9A 6T3

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