Devices for testing drivers’ saliva for cannabis soon on the streets of Canada

The federal government is about to approve “weed breathalyzers” which will be used as one of the ways the Canadian police is going to detect cannabis in the driver’s system.

Ever since the federal government announced they will be legalizing recreational marijuana, safety advocates have been pushing for a fool-proof way of detecting the drug.

In September 2017, the Public Safety Canada committed to spending up to $81 million CAD for a training program designed to help police catch high drivers.

There were speculations that the “weed breathalyzer” won’t be introduced as there aren’t many tools that can accurately say if the driver smoked two hours or 6 hours ago.

The downside to these devices is that they can only detect if cannabis is present in the driver’s system, not if the person is high at that particular moment. And, as you know, THC can be detectable in your system for up to 90 days.

How long THC stays in system table

Attorney General to approve the Draeger device

After passing the Bill C-45, also known as the Cannabis Act, the Senate also passed Bill C-46 which is known as the Impaired Driving Act.

This act will enable police officers to test drivers using a roadside test which can detect cannabis particles in their breath.

Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould has been presented with one such device and now she has 30 days to approve the Draeger DrugTest 5000 which is made by a German producer.

The Draeger DrugTest 5000 is already approved as a roadside breathalyzer test in both the UK and Germany, and it can also detect the presence of cocaine in the user’s system.

According to the manufacturers, this tool is able to accurately detect recent cannabis use within approximately last six hours.

As we’ve mentioned in our previous article on this topic, the science behind detecting drug-impaired drivers is much less certain than for detecting drunk drivers.

The $81 million CAD budget is intended to improve the government’s strategy to prevent drug-impaired driving, and only a part of that will go towards these devices.

The federal government has also set aside $62.5 million over five years for a public education strategy which is supposed to raise awareness about driving high.

Additionally, the police officers working these roadside stops will also have the opportunity to give you a complimentary alcohol test much easier than before.

Many critics have voiced their concerns over this measure, saying that Bill C-46 gave cops the ability to demand a roadside breath sample without needing any suspicion of using the substance.

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