The legalization of marijuana in Saskatchewan has raised debate but has been welcomed by most, but the impact on potential DUI drivers is a cause for concern. While many argue some drivers would operate a vehicle under marijuana regardless of its legality as a substance, authorities are weighing if the legalization of the drug will impact DUI numbers.
Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan said that is government is looking into how marijuana may affect driver safety in the province.
"I think certainly decriminalization needs to happen," Wall told reporters Wednesday, adding that Saskatchewan has a high incidence of impaired driving.
"We will have legalized marijuana in the country and so we should be prepared to make sure it's implemented as safely as possible."
Wall said that he has tasked his ministers who deal with Justice, Corrections, and Policing, as well as the provincial auto insurance provider to conduct a study into how the legalization of marijuana may affect road safety.
Wall made the announcement Wednesday morning. He asked his ministers responsible for Justice, Corrections and Policing and SGI to examine how marijuana legalization will affect drivers and road safety.
It is an issue the wider federal government is already looking into with its task force, and he said the province will work with central government to find solutions.
"We think it's important for us as a province and I think all provinces will make recommendations to the task force about things we can do around awareness and around safety on the highways to ensure safety when legalization occurs," he said.
Justice Minister Gordon Wyant, Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell and SGI Minister Don McMorris have been tasked with looking into current legislation. The ministers will look at creating educational and preventive measures to decrease the chances of marijuana influenced driving, while there will also be law enforced penalties for drivers caught under the influence.
"There's a lot of provincial leeway in terms of impaired driving laws, around the penalty piece, but what will be? Will there be a national standard for the legal limit? That's one of the questions we'll have to explore," Wall said.
"I think we'd be open to a national standard. We do think there needs to be one, though there isn't right now a standard for this sort of, we fundamentally think. And I think law enforcement needs to know what's the standard? What's the limit in terms of THC in the blood system that would require the penalty piece?"