There’s been a lot of debate in Canada with its recent federal pot legalization on October 17, 2018. Many sides and groups have been weighing in on their opinions and concerns about the legal use of pot, but also about people who will drive high.
With the legalization of recreational and medicinal pot use in Canada, it leaves some interesting conversation in the U.S. Can the American government follow in Canada’s footsteps and pass a federal cannabis act as well?
U.S. Versus Canada on Pot Legalization
There are a few states that legalize marijuana in some degree, but the U.S. is still a while away from being the land of the red, white and green. Cannabis is still illegal under federal law by the Controlled Substances Act, although at a state level, polices on the recreational and/or medical use of marijuana vary or even conflict with this act.
Currently, medical use of marijuana is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. In 10 states, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, recreational use of pot is legal. This information is current as of January 2019.
Whether you are for or against the drug, one thing remains certain. If a substance becomes legal, there will naturally be a higher use of it. Impaired driving laws must be strong with the right enforcement, plus technology like Ignition Interlocks and heightened awareness to accommodate to the higher level of people who could drive while impaired.
The Concern for Impaired Driving Laws in Canada
In Canada, one concern is that impaired driving laws are not up-to-date yet with the recent federal pot legalization.
Although law enforcement in Canada still arrest drug-impaired drivers, there are ways to enhance the country’s impaired driving legislation that would benefit all drivers if it had passed alongside the pot legalization bill. MADD Canada echoed their concern and recently stated that “the legalization of cannabis must come with the legal power required to police its use.”
Regardless of where pot will be legalized in the future, there still needs to be technology that deters impaired driving. That’s why “all-offender” Ignition Interlock laws need more focus. This law has proven to reduce recidivism and drunk driving crashes.
Although Ignition Interlock Devices only detect and measure breath alcohol concentration (BrAC), studies have shown its benefit to reducing impaired driving all-around. A drugged driving conviction in most states means their driver’s license is under suspension and/or revocation. If it’s applicable and the person is eligible, an Ignition Interlock allows them to drive again sooner rather than later.
Have any Ignition Interlock questions? Smart Start’s bilingual Customer Care Center is standing by 24/7/365 to assist! Just call (800) 831-3299 and we’ll help clarify any aspects of the Ignition Interlock program.
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