Like alcohol, marijuana should not be used before getting behind the wheel, writes Ann Hepburn
With the legalization of some forms and quantities of marijuana coming into effect this month (Oct. 17, 2018), it is imperative to talk about the use of narcotics while driving. As with all intoxicants, marijuana is a drug that causes a delay in reaction time, impairs judgment and increases the chance of an accident. As with any drug, do not use and drive.
In preparation for marijuana becoming legal, and more widely available in Canada, the government and our Justice Department have given the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) more education and tools to help keep offenders off the roadways.
The OPP have different screening tests available to them roadside, and have had extensive training on what to look for and how to determine if testing is necessary. They now have a much more rigorous program to help them keep the roads safe from those making a choice to drive while high.
There are new offences that the OPP can use when placing charges, depending on the level of THC (the chemical in marijuana that is tested) in your system, from a very small amount up to larger amounts, and different charges for using marijuana with alcohol or other drugs. These charges can range from a fine to 120 days in jail, increasing with each offence you are charged with.
Driving while high and causing death, however, can result in a sentence up to life. Ironic, isn't it? If you cause death, you get life. I suppose it takes that long to come to terms with smoking up and killing somebody.
I am not a supporter of the legalization of marijuana. I do not believe it is being done to keep it out of the hands of minors or to make it safer as the government would have us believe, but instead to create another category of tax revenue. As with the sale of alcohol by the province, it is not about health, but about wealth.
Addiction is a huge issue in our country. Making a narcotic more available, more accessible and less stigmatized is not helping anyone. Making treatment for addiction more available, less stigmatized and more accessible would be a much better use of our time and money. We should help the problems we already have, before we work so hard to create more.
One split second can change everything; use that split second to make the decision not to drive if you have been using any type of drug. Driving under the influence is not a good decision. Ever. For any reason. Please do not use and cruise. I don't want to die because you got high.
The only driving you control is your own. Be safe and command your space.
Ann Hepburn is the owner and operations manager of Redbeard Rides. To find out about its services, please visit www.redbeardrides.ca
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