Police are reassuring Alberta citizens that they will be taking extra precautions to ensure roads are kept safe once cannabis becomes legal.
At an event hosted in Edmonton by the Alberta RCMP on Friday (Oct.12), police discussed the impact cannabis will have on services, with enforcement on impaired driving being the main topic.
"The number of Alberta RCMP members trained to enforce impaired driving will exceed the national standards. Aside from the classroom training for our officers, we have mandated online training for all employees on the introduction to the cannabis legislation," said chief superintendent Brad Mueller with the Alberta RCMP.
Police walked through an interactive drug-impaired checkstop demonstration.
Their goal is to have one third of their members trained in the Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) by 2020. The SFST is a series of tests police use to help determine if a driver has been impaired by alcohol or drugs.
"A future including legalized cannabis is one that I know the RCMP and us here in Alberta are trained and ready to respond to. The citizens of Alberta can rest assured that our decisions are based on research and supported by government partners and the law enforcement community."
Inspector Steve Daley, RCMP operations officer for traffic services, added that drug impaired driving has been illegal in Canada since 1925 and the technology and methods to enforce it have only gotten better throughout the years.
"Now we have new offences for drug impaired driving, increased impaired driving sanctions, approved screening equipment and all that has been put into place to discourage and reduce the incidents of impaired driving and make our roadways safer," said Daley. "Keeping roads and highways safe for all Albertans has always been a vital part of the provincial mandate and an RCMP priority."
Like with alcohol, drivers that are under the graduated license program have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to cannabis. If any cannabis is found in their system while they are behind the wheel, the driver's license will be suspended for 30 days.
Drivers found to be criminally impaired, refuse the drug test or are over the legal limit will receive a 90-day suspension.
Under the influence of cannabis, drivers will have a reduced ability to track movement, respond to more than one source of information or respond to sudden changes in their environment. Being under the influence of cannabis doubles the driver's chances of being involved in a collision.
Cannabis will officially be legalized on Wednesday (Oct.17).
These limits are similar to the existing .08 per cent blood alcohol concentration for alcohol-impaired driving.