Halton Regional Police Service
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Marihuana

Bill C-46, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code

Bill C-46, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code, received royal assent on June 21, 2018. This Bill significantly impacts the ability of police services across the country to detect and enforce alcohol-impaired and drug-impaired driving.

Part I of Bill C-46

Part I of Bill C-46, which came into force on June 21, 2018, introduced three new criminal offences related to drug-impaired driving or when a motorist is impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol. The offences focus on the concentration of THC, measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml):

  • an offence for low-level THC concentrations of 2 ng/ml to less than 5 ng/ml
  • an offence for higher-level THC concentrations of 5 ng/ml of more
  • an offence that recognizes the effects of combined marijuana and alcohol consumption; 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml blood plus 2.5 ng/ml or more of THC

It is important to note that these offences apply to those with a medical authorization for cannabis.

The Bill also allows police to conduct tests, using approved oral fluid screening equipment or a blood test, to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs at the time of driving.

While this law creates measurable limits specific to cannabis, drivers that use Halton roadways are reminded that the Halton Regional Police Service already has the ability to detect impairment via roadside sobriety testing and via a post-arrest drug recognition evaluation.

In 2017, in anticipation of this new law, our Service commenced increasing its capacity to conduct both Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and Drug Recognition Evaluations (DREs). The Halton Regional Police Service will continue to enforce based on observations of the readily recognizable effects of drugs and alcohol on a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Part II of Bill C-46

Part II of Bill C-46, which came into force on December 18, 2018, allows police to conduct roadside breath alcohol testing, without having suspicion of alcohol consumption, when a motorist is lawfully stopped by police. Mandatory alcohol screening is in place in nearly a dozen European and Commonwealth countries and has been credited with reducing road fatalities by up to 40 per cent in the first four years after it was enacted. It provides a mechanism for better detection of those who choose to drink and get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

It also introduced some new and higher mandatory minimum fines and some higher maximum penalties for impaired driving:

Penalties
Charge 1st offence 2nd offence 3rd offence
  • Alcohol-impaired driving
  • Having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at or over 80mg per 100ml of blood within 2 hours of driving

Mandatory minimum: $1,000 fine

Maximum: 10 years imprisonment

Mandatory minimum: 30 days imprisonment

Maximum: 10 years imprisonment

Mandatory minimum: 120 days imprisonment

Maximum: 10 years imprisonment

  • Drug-impaired driving
  • Having 5ng or more of THC per ml of blood within 2 hours of driving
  • Any detectable level of LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, ketamine, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamine, 6-mam within 2 hours of driving
  • Having 5mg or more of GHB per 1 litre of blood within 2 hours of driving

Combination

  • Having a BAC of 50mg per 100ml of blood + 2.5ng or more of THC per 1ml of blood withing 2 hours of driving

Refusal to comply with demand for sample

Minimum: $2,000 fine

Drug-impaired driving - Summary conviction

  • Having over 2ng but less than 5ng of THC per ml of blood within 2 hours of driving
Maximum $1,000 fine

Impaired driving causing bodily harm

  • Summary conviction: Maximum 2 years imprisonment less a day
  • Indictment: Maximum 14 years imprisonment

Impaired driving causing death

  • Summary conviction: Maximum 2 years imprisonment less a day
  • Indictment: Maximum life imprisonment

First offence + BAC of 80 - 119mg

Mandatory minimum $1,000 fine

First offence + BAC of 120 - 159mg

Mandatory minimum $1,500 fine

First offence + BAC of 160mg or more

Mandatory minimum $2,000 fine