Insurers left with heavy lifting from marijuana legalization

Published: January 11, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The insurance industry can help play a vital role in educating drivers ahead of the upcoming legalization of marijuana. A leading safety advocate says insurers should start teaching responsible pot use now by telling drivers the limits.

Ontario Safety League president and CEO Brian Patterson spoke to Canadian Underwriter. Patterson suggest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a lot of credit for legalizing cannabis for recreational use, but left much of the heavy lifting to insurers.

“We are expecting lots of education to be left on the shoulders of insurers, because we [insurance professionals] are just not looking at ‘too cool for school,’” Patterson said. “We are looking at what’s safe for people on the roadway.”

The bill proposing the use of recreational marijuana up to 30 grams is currently before the senate, but is widely expected to be passed. Patterson says insurance providers will have to educate drivers on the marijuana levels they can smoke without getting an impairment.

Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, is expected to be pushed through by this July after successfully passing the House of Commons last November. It is accompanied by Bill C-46, which aims to give police in Canada authority to use roadside drug tests if there is suspicion of drugs on a driver’s possession.