Chal­lenge lies ahead

MADD man­ager says le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana is go­ing to cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant is­sues

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY DAVE STE­WART dave.ste­wart@the­ Twit­­wart

Po­lice need more pow­ers to bat­tle im­paired driv­ers, says Su­san MacAskill.

The re­gional man­ager of Moth­ers Against Drunk Driv­ing (MADD) says the le­gal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana next year is go­ing to cre­ate a whole new chal­lenge for law en­force­ment, and gov­ern­ments need to act soon.

“Our fed­eral gov­ern­ment needs to have leg­isla­tive frame­work in place and our pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments need to have le­gal­iza­tion un­der the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Act that gives po­lice the pow­ers to lay those drug im­paired charges be­cause a breath­a­lyzer will not de­tect drugs,’’ MacAskill said.

She said po­lice need an ap­proved in­stru­ment and MADD Canada has made a rec­om­men­da­tion.

“Drugs can be (tested) through saliva and it can be done at roadside and it can be just as ef­fi­cient as a breath­a­lyzer eval­u­a­tion.’’

How­ever, she said there are only 800 trained drug recog­ni­tion ex­perts across Canada at the mo­ment.

It’s not cheap to cre­ate train more.

MacAskill said it costs $17,000 to train one per­son to be a drug recog­ni­tion ex­pert.

Still, MADD Canada is push­ing the at­tor­ney gen­eral and jus­tice min­is­ter.

“If ev­ery of­fi­cer can have that (dis­pos­able saliva test) in their ve­hi­cle it will cer­tainly have a pos­i­tive im­pact on road safety.’’

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