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New pot law and drivers license suspension or revocation

Impaired driving laws will be getting some revisions in Wild Rose Country. The Alberta provincial government will bring its laws into line with a recent court decision that indicated that drivers license suspension or revocation was unconstitutional when imposed indefinitely. The new law for impaired driving would suspend a driver's license for 90 days.

Under Bill 29, when those 90 days are done, drivers will be given back their licenses under the condition that they sign up for a program that locks their ignitions should they have alcohol in their systems. If they refuse to participate, they will go without their licenses for an additional 12 months. The same bill also proposes to add impairment by cannabis to existing legislation to bring it in line with federal Bill C-46 regarding impaired driving. 

Under Bill C-46, if drivers who are found to have two nanograms (ng), but less than five ng, of THC per millilitre of blood, they could face a maximum fine of $1,000. Penalties for alcohol impairment will be increasing under the bill as well. Recreational pot use will become legal by July 1, 2018. A device that police would use to test drivers' saliva on the roadside for marijuana, meth and cocaine is currently being tested by the federal government.

Currently, if police suspect an impaired driver, they use sobriety tests that are now available. Police can ask drivers to provide blood samples or to blow into a Breathalyzer for alcohol. Drivers refusing to do so can be charged.

Alberta drivers who have had a drivers license suspension or revocation have the right to speak to a lawyer about their case. If that suspension includes the use of cannabis, a lawyer will make sure the proper tests were used to ascertain impairment. A lawyer could work to reduce the charges against his or her client or have them dropped altogether.

Source:, "Alberta impaired driving laws being revised to respond to pot legalization, court challenge", Michelle Bellefontaine, Nov. 14, 2017

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