Canadians should hang their heads in shame over the performance of their elected officials as well as bureaucrats in the “Department of Justice” rushing to legalize marijuana nationwide in spite of evidence opposing their efforts.
October 14, 2017, the Department of Justice issued proposed regulations to implement Bill C-46 (See our July 17, 2017 post). The regulations and their accompanying Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement show a dishonest, deceitful Government, determined to ignore even advice it has requested in its zeal to legalize pot.
In the following letter to the Department of Justice, “DDC” refers to the Drugs and Driving Committee of the Canadian Society of Forensic Sciences, a group from whom the Government solicited advice in its plan to legalize marijuana.
Canada’s Department of Justice is clearly misnamed, for its Blood Drug Concentration Regulations issued October 14, 2017, Vol 151, No. 41 are structured to prevent justice from being applied in the majority of cases where a driver is impaired by marijuana.Scientific backup for the above statement is included in the attached brief.Following are the factual errors in today’s Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement1 “The proposed BDC offence level for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis) under the summary conviction offence is not directly linked to impairment,…”The DDC report of April 2017 states, ”The rapid redistribution from the blood into fatty tissues results in low THC concentrations despite persisting effects on the brain. Therefore, individuals may be impaired at what appears to be a low blood concentrations. [page 12]…..due to the relationship of the pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of THC an individual could be impaired below both 2 and 5 ng/mL. [page 15, emphasis added]”
2 “…but is, rather, based on a precautionary or a crime prevention approach.”
The DDC report suggested a legal limit of 2 ng/ml in blood as a product measure in the interest of public safety. It made no mention of crime prevention.
3 The Background distinguishes the summary offence level from the hybrid offence level by claiming the hybrid level uniquely is based on two principles: “the BDC levels that are expected to cause some driving impairment; and the facts that these are illicit drugs which are commonly found in drivers and have impairing effects.”
The DDC report specifically contradicts that distinction. It states that one can be impaired below 5 ng and even below 2 ng.
4 The DDC…”indicated that 2 ng of THC per millilitre of blood would reflect a public safety/crime prevention approach, whereas a 5 ng level of THC could be associated with some impairment”Did you even read the DDC report? That’s not what it says at all! Your language is a powerful statement to ensure that stoned drivers testing below 5 ng/ml will not be prosecuted for impairment, even on an impairment basis, rather than a per se basis. We’ve presented data showing that the majority of cannabinoid-positive drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI test below 5 ng. 70% test below 5 ng in the larges such study. Furthermore, you imply that someone with a BDC level above 5 ng “could” be unimpaired, which may or may not be true. The DDC report cites scientific literature to note that drivers can be impaired not only below 5 ng, but below 2 ng! Yet you don’t mention that at all.
5 “..both Colorado and Washington have adopted a single offence at 5 ng of THC.”
Colorado adopted a 5 ng of THC permissible inference level, which is far different than a 5 ng per se level. A permissible inference level simply gives a prosecutor freedom to try to present a case base on impairment, and that a court may infer, if it wishes to do so, that the driver was impaired, if sufficient other evidence is present. Therefore, the 5 ng permissible inference level effectively prohibits DUI prosecution for those testing below 5 ng, yet does not guarantee conviction for those above 5 ng.
Yes, both MADD Canada and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have long called for legal drug limits to simplify investigation and prosecution of drug-impaired driving. This is because it is so difficult to achieve a conviction for drugged driving based on current impairment assessments alone.
When the information in the attached brief was presented to the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, none of the Members disagreed with our claim that under C-46, the majority of stoned drivers would not be prosecuted for DUI per se. They responded that, nonetheless, those drivers could be prosecuted under an impairment theory.This counterclaim is factually correct, but in practice it is specious. The whole reason for installing per se limits is that it is difficult to achieve a successful prosecution without them. Putting in place per se limits that are as high as Canada proposes to do will make what is already a difficult proposition even more difficult. If it were as easy to achieve a conviction based on impairment evidence, why go the the effort of implementing per se limits that are mocked by science?Your Regulatory Impact Analysis appears to have been written by the pot lobby. Have you no shame?