Driving in Canada
Canadian Federal Legislature*
Legal Age: 18+ (minimum), or as specified per Province
Maximum Possession: Up to 30 grams, or equivalent, or as specified per Province
Retail: As specified per Province; online sales available in each Province
Consumption: Private dwelling and property, or as specified per Province. Prohibited in vehicles.
Cultivation: Up to 4 plants per household, or as specified per Province
Adult-use recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018.
The information on this website reflects the compiled legal frameworks of the Federal, Provincial Gov and Municipal Governments of Canada.
Click here to view Bill C-45 CANNABIS ACT. Source: Government of Canada
Part 1: Drug Impaired Driving
Part 1 of the new impaired driving legislation, which introduces new offences for drug-impaired driving, came into force on June 21, 2018.
Legal drug limits
The legislation creates three new offences for having a prohibited concentration of drugs in the blood within two hours of driving. The levels for THC are at:
for the summary conviction offence for 2 nanograms (ng) but less than 5 ng of THC per millilitre (ml) of blood
for the hybrid offence for 5 ng or more of THC per ml of blood
for the hybrid offence for a combination of 50 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 ml blood + 2.5 ng or more of THC per 1 ml of blood
The regulations setting the prohibited levels of drugs came into force on June 27, 2018. Along with THC, these offences apply for any detectable levels of other impairing drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, 6-MAM (a metabolite of heroin), Ketamine, Phencyclidine, and Psilocybin and Psilocin (magic mushrooms). Scientific advice indicates that these drugs are incompatible with safe driving at any level.
As well, the level for GHB is 5 mg/L as the body can naturally produce low levels of this drug, and as such, a blood drug concentration of “any detectable level” would not be appropriate for this drug.
The law also applies to those with medical authorization for cannabis.
The new legislation makes detecting drug-impaired driving easier by authorizing the following:
if police have a reasonable suspicion that a driver has a drug in their body, they may demand an oral fluid sample to test for drug presence at the roadside;
if they have reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed, such as a positive result on an oral fluid test together with other observed factors, police may pursue drug recognition evaluation or take a blood sample;
police officers trained in drug recognition and evaluation (DRE) are able to provide opinion evidence in court as to whether or not a driver was impaired by a drug, without the need to qualify them as an expert witness in each trial and;
a rebuttable presumption to better link the drug found in the body by the DRE trained officer with the observed signs of impairment at the roadside or while driving. This means that where an evaluating officer has identified a drug type as impairing a driver at the time of testing and that drug type is found by analysis to be in the driver’s body, it will be presumed that the drug was causing impairment at the time of driving.
Oral fluid drug screeners
Oral fluid drug screeners can be used by police to detect the presence of some drugs in saliva, including THC, the main impairing component in cannabis. These devices are fast, non-invasive, and accurate. They can detect some or all of THC, cocaine and methamphetamine, the three most common impairing drugs found in Canadian drivers. Police can demand an oral fluid sample if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver has drugs in their body based on objectively visible facts, such as:
If a driver tests positive on an oral fluid screening test, the positive result would confirm the presence of the drug and, combined with other signs of impairment observed by the police at the roadside, would provide grounds for the investigation to proceed further either by making a demand for DRE or a blood sample
Government of Canada
Driving while impaired, whether by alcohol, or cannabis, or other drugs, is a serious crime and puts the safety of everyone at risk. Click here to read the Canadian Department of Justice Impaired Driving Laws >>