Police forces won’t use federally recommended Cannabis Act testing technology

Published: October 4, 2018

Updated: November 1, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Marijuana legalization for recreational users will come into effect on Oct. 17 when the Cannabis Act  is enacted. The federal government has detailed technology that will function as a roadside test for marijuana impairment in an effort to help police. However, some police forces are skeptical about the technology.

Indeed, some police are questioning the Liberal government’s involvement in deploying the devices. For example, Vancouver Police says it won’t use the Drager DrugTest 5000 when pot is legalized next month. One of the reasons given by the department is the lack of functionality when the device is exposed to sub-zero temperatures.

Clearly that would be a glaring flaw in the tech considering how cold Canada’s winters get. Vancouver police also say the unit is too large and takes too long to finish a sample.

“Our experts within the VPD have looked at it and we’re just not comfortable moving forward with this machine and we’re looking at other options,” said Sgt. Jason Robillard.

While Vancouver says it won’t use the device, the police department has said it will buy one unit to test it in the field. However, the most likely outcome is officers will continue to use traditional standard field sobriety tests.

Other Regions

It’s a similar story in Delta, British Columbia, where officers say they will not adopt the device right now, although no commitment has been made for 2019 either way. RCMP in Edmonton say they have not reached a decision on using DrugTest 5000.

National RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Marie Damian said there are plans to roll out the device in a limited way, but it will not replace existing methods for detecting impairment.

“Roadside drug screening equipment will provide an additional tool to help Canadian police officers detect and investigate drug-impaired drivers,” she said.