CANNABIS Driv­ers can avoid le­gal risks with weed in cars

Sarah Lea­mon

The Georgia Straight - - Cannabis - By

By now, we should all know that driv­ing a mo­tor ve­hi­cle with cannabis in your body could re­sult in harsh le­gal penal­ties. But what about driv­ing with cannabis in your car?

The first golden rule when it comes to cannabis in cars is to avoid con­sum­ing in­side a mo­tor ve­hi­cle, full stop.

Ob­vi­ously, driv­ers should ab­stain from con­sum­ing cannabis at all times while driv­ing, but this re­stric­tion ap­plies to pas­sen­gers just as much as it does to those who are be­hind the wheel. As the owner and op­er­a­tor of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle, you should be vigilant in en­sur­ing that no one smokes, vapes, or con­sumes cannabis through other meth­ods while you’re in charge. Oth­er­wise, both you and your pas­sen­gers could face le­gal con­se­quences.

And pulling over be­fore con­sum­ing won’t help your case.

It does not mat­ter if you’re parked or if you have no in­ten­tion of ac­tu­ally putting the ve­hi­cle in mo­tion. The pro­hi­bi­tion against con­sum­ing cannabis in mo­tor ve­hi­cles ex­tends to all ve­hi­cles—re­gard­less of whether you are driv­ing or not.

More­over, the le­gal con­cept of “care or con­trol” ex­tends to acts that fall short of ac­tu­ally driv­ing. This means that sim­ply sit­ting in a mo­tor ve­hi­cle could be enough to fall un­der the def­i­ni­tion, and the sub­se­quent am­bit of the law.

You may also want to keep in mind that these re­stric­tions ap­ply to all ve­hi­cles, not just cars and trucks. Even un­con­ven­tional mo­tor ve­hi­cles, like boats, mo­tor­ized scoot­ers, and— in some prov­inces—farm equip­ment, are il­le­gal places to spark up.

But re­frain­ing from con­sum­ing in or on a mo­tor ve­hi­cle won’t nec­es­sar­ily save you from a ticket in the postle­gal­iza­tion land­scape.

Sim­ply hav­ing cannabis in your ve­hi­cle can con­sti­tute an of­fence.

Here in Bri­tish Columbia, the Cannabis Con­trol and Li­cens­ing Act makes it a tick­etable of­fence to sim­ply have cannabis in your ve­hi­cle, re­gard­less of whether you are con­sum­ing it or not. In On­tario, Bill 36 func­tions in a sim­i­lar man­ner. In fact, in ev­ery prov­ince so far, the rules are rel­a­tively con­sis­tent with re­spect to the ban on cannabis in cars.

So, does this mean that you have to walk or take the bus if you want to pick up some cannabis from a li­censed dis­pen­sary and bring it home?

Not ex­actly—like most things, this re­stric­tion is sub­ject to cer­tain ex­cep­tions.

Adults op­er­at­ing a mo­tor ve­hi­cle in Bri­tish Columbia can law­fully trans­port cannabis so long as they com­ply with the law. This means that the prod­uct can­not be read­ily ac­ces­si­ble to the driver and pas­sen­gers in the ve­hi­cle. It must be from a fed­eral pro­ducer and re­main in its orig­i­nal, un­opened, and fully sealed pack­ag­ing.

Driv­ers can trans­port up to four plants, so long as they are not bud­ding or flow­er­ing. So make sure to take a close look be­fore hit­ting the road with your plants in tow.

And while the law is new—and there­fore may seem hazy right now—the best thing is to treat cannabis like al­co­hol in re­la­tion to your mo­tor ve­hi­cle.

Ap­ply the three golden rules: don’t con­sume in­side your ve­hi­cle; don’t break the orig­i­nal seal and bring it into the cab; and re­mem­ber that the best place for it is prob­a­bly in­side the trunk.

If you fol­low these rules, then you should be driv­ing in the clear.

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