Shop Insurance Canada has discussed the impact of cannabis legalization on driving laws and insurance. The way drugs and alcohol are treated will likely be different. That is the view of Doug Beirness, senior research associate with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA), who was speaking Wednesday at a State Farm-sponsored event in downtown Toronto.
Beirness suggests that different approaches for drug and alcohol impairment will need to be implemented.
“Everything that we go to do that tries to parallel alcohol will be different in many different ways. We need to take account of that and we need to work harder and find new solutions. Doing the research is one way to do that,” Beirness said while participating on the Drugs & Driving Expert Panel Discussion.
The panel focused on how drug-impairment will be policed and the impact drugs (especially the legalization of marijuana) will have on road safety. Canada is on a path to legalizing the drug after liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would make marijuana legal as a recreational substance.
State Farm has been amongst the most proactive in assessing the impact the legalization will have on road safety in the country. The group conducted a survey that was release in the spring and found 62% of 3,300 participants believe the current legal system is ill-equipped to deal with drivers impaired by marijuana.
Highlighting public concern further, 53% said that police do not have the necessary equipment and resources to police drug-related incidents.
“We are not lobbying or supporting the legalization of or further criminalization of marijuana or drugs, prescription or otherwise,” Tracey Pether of Pether Insurance & Financial Services Inc. said.
“Drug-impaired driving is a national discussion that requires government, non-profit organizations and Canadians to come together to shape our future. We’re trying to help facilitate a discussion and prevent injury and deaths of Canadian road users,” she added.