OTTAWA, Ont. – Well it’s official. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made good on his campaign promise to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Trudeau’s Liberal government promised late last month that the recreational use of marijuana will be legal in Canada on or before July 1, 2018.
Today, the long-awaited suite of bills was tabled in the House of Commons, which outlines that those 18 and older can possess up to 30 grams of (dried or fresh) cannabis and can grow up to four plants at home come July 2018.
Though some find the bill drastic, a government news release promises a “strict legal framework for the production, sale, distribution and possession of marijuana.” Trudeau’s government ensured that selling cannabis to a minor would be a criminal offense and that there would be a “zero-tolerance approach” to drug impaired driving.
As it relates to trucking, the Liberal government also explained that for the first time in Canadian law there will be a regulated limit to how much THC can be in a driver’s blood while behind the wheel. The new bill outlines that it will be illegal to drive within two hours of having an illegal level of drugs in the blood. Penalties will range from a $1,000 fine to life imprisonment, depending on the circumstances of the impairment.
As well, according to the release, the bill would put stricter penalties in place when drivers are impaired both by marijuana and alcohol.
The Liberal government has also pledged to have a public campaign rolled out to educate people on the dangers of marijuana use, especially when driving and combined with alcohol and other drugs.
The existing access to medical marijuana will remain unchanged, the bill outlined.
While the implications of this bill on the trucking industry have yet to be seen, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has already been engaging with employers of safety-sensitive occupations in various industries to ensure that safeguards and regulations are in place before marijuana becomes legal so that workplace and public safety is not impaired and employer and employee responsibilities and rights are clearly defined.
“Employers in industries like trucking have a paramount responsibility for the safety of our employees and of the motoring public with whom we share the road,” said David Bradley, CEO of the CTA. “We are asking for a per cut off limit for impairment like .08 for alcohol; a practical and lest evasive roadside test; and the regulatory framework for employers to conduct workplace testing of employees in safety-sensitive occupations, including random testing.”
Bradley added the legislation introduced is “enabling” legislation, meaning it gives the government the authority to make regulations.
“This is where the real work will be,” he said. “All these things – such as roadside and workplace testing – should be in place before legalization takes place in a practical sense.”