Canada Looks To The U.S. For Help Dealing With High Drivers

Supporters of the legalization of cannabis most often use alcohol as a point of comparison. Marijuana is safer to consume, as most people said in our Civilized Cannabis Culture Poll earlier this year, so it should be legal to consume in all states, not just in Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C.

In a new graphic, the Toronto-based OMQ law firm has tackled a controversial and complicated aspect of this debate - driving high vs. driving drunk. As Canada prepares to legalize marijuana nationwide next year, the graphic below takes a look at the current laws in Canada and what the country can learn from what's already in place in the U.S.

In Canada and the U.S., you can't legally drive with a blood alcohol content level more than .08 percent. It's also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in both countries, but the laws in the U.S. legal states are much more advanced.

Bearing in mind that there are still heated debates over the science around accurately testing for THC limits for drivers, the OMQ graphic nonetheless lays out the laws as they currently stand.

In Colorado, the penalty for a first offence is $1,000 fine, a nine-month license suspension, and up to one year in jail. In Washington State, a first conviction carries up to $5,000 fine, 60 months probation, and a 90-day license suspension.

It's hard to draw a direction comparison between driving drunk versus driving high, but the OMQ graphic cites a study which says people with 13 micrograms of THC per litre of blood are just as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent. 

high drunk infographic


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