Winnipeg police show first pot impaired driving ticket

Published: October 18, 2018

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Well, that didn’t take long. On the day recreational marijuana became legal through the Cannabis Act, police in Winnipeg were forced into action. Indeed, just an hour had passed before the force had issued its first ticket for impaired driving to a motorist consuming pot in their vehicle.

Winnipeg Police posted an image of the ticket to their official Twitter page, showing the fine for the infraction was $672. The ticket was issued early in the morning after the Cannabis Act came into effect on Oct. 17.

On Twitter, the police force followed the photo of the ticket with more tweets to remind drivers of the law. Consuming cannabis in a vehicle is illegal under all circumstances.

It seems this was a single event as no more tickets have been confirmed. Elizabeth Popowich, a spokeswoman for the Regina Police Service, confirmed no reports of further tickets had been reported by Wednesday evening. She pointed out police were asked to report any incidents involving pot impaired driving.

In other regions, law enforcement is reporting in different ways. For example, in British Columbia the RCMP says they will not release figures on drug impaired driving until next month.

Insurance Concerns

In August, we reported that Canadian insurers were concerned about impaired driving from Cannabis. The federal government has promised to make drug driving rules amongst the stiffest in the world. However, provinces are free to create their own legislation around legal marijuana.

“Everybody is concerned with drug-impaired driving, including the insurance industry,” said Ivan Ross Vrana, senior account director at HKS Strategies said at the time. “I have a concern on the policing fronts and from insurance purposes.

“A driver gets pulled over by police and is told to take a drugs test. How reliable is that test? It’s not like alcohol where a person is impaired or they’re not. What if the driver took cannabis for medical purposes – what’s the distinction there? I hope that the tests they produce are sophisticated enough to differentiate between different cannabinoids and the different uses of cannabis. It’s going to be a huge headache trying to curtail, measure and correct drug-induced driving.”