The identical can’t be mentioned for the rest of Canada. Ontario has noticed 1 hundred cannabis impaired driving charges beneath the Criminal Code, whilst Quebec has noticed thirty-two. In our neighboring province of Alberta, eight drivers have been charged.
So, what’s going on?
Are British Columbians just a very diligent and devoted group of law-abiding citizens? Do we reside in a utopian province, unplagued by the issues that are faced by other fellow Canadians?
That appears improbable.
And, following a controversial tweet by the Saanich Police Division on July 29, 2019, it also appears not possible.
The tweet in query showed a ticket, handed out by a police officer with that detachment, displaying 3 bylaw infractions. It explained that the ticket was offered following the officer had witnessed a driver flick a lit joint out of the window of their vehicle…while speeding via a college zone. The infractions listed have been for speeding, for failing to alter address, and dropping, releasing or mishandling a burning substance.
Curiously, nonetheless, there was no mention of cannabis.
Not a single infraction or charge was offered for the actual act of smoking cannabis whilst driving.
Soon after news broke, the investigating officer issued a statement, saying that he determined that the driver was not impaired by cannabis following evaluation on the roadside, justifying his selection not pursue criminal charges for impaired driving.
He did not, nonetheless, address his failure to concern them with additional infractions, particularly connected to the use of cannabis whilst behind the wheel.
Soon after all, it is not only a crime to drive whilst impaired by THC, but also illegal to have cannabis improperly stored in a motor car and to consume cannabis inside a motor car, whether or not it is moving or not. Offered the situations of this occasion, it appears clear that the officer had the basis to concern these tickets, at the bare minimum.
But he chose not to.
Which begs the query – why?
Is it attainable that police officers in British Columbia are quietly protesting what they think to be unjust and inequitable laws about cannabis and driving by way of inaction? Is there a opportunity that they are refusing to concern charges in order to send a robust message to the powers-that-be about the inappropriateness of these laws in the very first spot?
Whilst we can not rule something out – except the utopian province theory, of course – this appears very unlikely.
A far more plausible notion is that police in this province are merely made use of to the way items made use of to be. They have not however adopted the new guidelines and regulations, which are now readily available to them post-legalization, and are in no rush to do so.
A common lack of up-to-date education and sources, like roadside salvia testing devices, could be adding to their apathy.
It is also attainable that a far more laidback attitude about cannabis on the west coast, in common, may perhaps be contributing to – what has now develop into – a uniquely British Columbian “hands-off” strategy to charging drivers for cannabis offences.
What ever the explanation, even though, inaction on the aspect of police in enforcing impaired driving and cannabis-connected driving offences does absolutely nothing to obtain the quite goal of introducing these sorts of laws in the very first spot namely, to shield the public and to maintain our roads protected.
In order for laws to act as a common deterrent for public behavior, the public will have to worry the enforcement of these laws.
If there is no possibility of getting charged in relation with a certain behavior – such as, smoking a joint whilst driving – there is genuinely absolutely nothing to cease persons from undertaking it, should really they be so inclined.
At the finish of the day, no matter what the explanation for it is, police forces in British Columbia are not sending a deterrent message to drivers when it comes to cannabis.
The only message they’re sending is that this may perhaps be the only province in Canada exactly where you can blaze a trail via a college zone, whilst smoking a joint, and nevertheless prevent going up in smoke.
Featured image courtesy of The Star.