Last week marked a big victory for believers in recreational marijuana: Canada became just the second country in the world to fully legalize the substance.
But before most Canucks could even take a celebratory puff, Canadian police passed out the first violation for smoking while driving.
So … this happened early this morning: A Consume Cannabis in a Motor Vehicle ticket was issued. Just like alcohol, consuming cannabis is legal - and like alcohol, consuming it in your vehicle is **not**. #KnowYourRole pic.twitter.com/RR9AUBv4RN— Winnipeg Police (@wpgpolice) October 17, 2018
Issued by the Winnipeg Police Service, the citation was written just after 1 a.m. on the day of legalization. The recipient was busted for “consum[ing] cannabis in a motor vehicle on a highway.” The driver will be subject to a $672 fine for the offense, according to the new laws.
It remains unclear whether the individual was driving at the time or if they were toking up on the side of the road. Either action, according to the Canadian police, is still illegal.
What’s anything but hazy is that the newly-lawful substance is moving across the country more slickly than the Keystone Pipeline.
Mere hours after the first citation was issued, a second similar violation was recorded in Ontario, this one for storing cannabis in an accessible place while a vehicle is in motion. It’s important to know that marijuana can be transported in a vehicle’s trunk, but anywhere inside the car’s cabin is off-limits.
In the wake of the back-to-back incidents, the country’s police issued a statement reminding residents that, in many ways, the herbal ingredient should be considered akin to alcohol—at least as far as the law’s concerned. While it’s legal to purchase and consume it, it remains illegal to do so while in your vehicle.
And, depending on a driver’s size and tolerance, it may also be illegal—or at the very least, ill-advised—to take a hit before getting behind the wheel.
Canada has adopted a marijuana-based DWI policy that also mirrors the laws around alcohol. Drivers can have as much as 5 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (or, as it’s more colloquially known, THC) in their system while technically remaining within legal limits.
Most states in America where residents can smoke freely have adopted the same level—though there remains much debate behind the usefulness of the measurement.
Still, for a number of reasons, anyone looking to consume in Canada should steer clear away from their cars while under the influence and enjoy the substance how it’s best experienced: on the couch, with a bowlful of snacks and a night full of Netflix.