Getting a traffic ticket is a bummer, but have you ever gotten a cannabis ticket?
In Ontario, an average of 21 people a day have been issued tickets for cannabis-related offences since the substance became legal back in October, according to a report from Global News. Over a year, that comes to approximately 7,665 tickets, most of which are being written for minor infractions.
The most common offense is having cannabis accessible in a vehicle, making up 63 percent of the province’s cannabis tickets. It’s important to note that, in Ontario, the charge applies even if the cannabis cannot be immediately consumed. To avoid getting ticketed, lawyer Jack Lloyd says you should always keep your cannabis in the trunk of your car while driving. But Lloyd thinks it would be even better if the Ontario government tweaked that law.
“It’s completely arbitrary, and it’s not rationally connected to the purpose of the legislation, which is to prevent impaired driving,” he told Global.
Other common charges include underage possession, which saw its highest concentration in the eastern section of the province. For this, the teen is usually issued a $200 fine, which may be waved if the teen attends an approved drug education program.
Nearly all of the tickets issued for unlawful sale thus far have been given to landlords of dispensaries, which reflects the province's efforts to eradicate the gray market in Ontario.
There have been just three charges of distributing cannabis to someone under the age of 19, but the penalty for this offence is quite severe, potentially netting the offender a 14-year prison sentence under the federal Cannabis Act.
As is often seen with traffic tickets, many of these tickets can be contested in court, so provincial courts can expect to see a large influx of defendants when these fines are due.