Canadian police have not seen a spike in cannabis-impaired driving since legalization. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Smithers RCMP not currently using THC testing device

Officers are trained in roadside THC detection, but zero arrests since legalization.

Smithers RCMP are not currently using federally approved THC testing device Dräger DrugTest 5000 for road side drug detection, Sgt. Darren Durnin said.

The device is currently being rolled out across the country so it’s not readily available, Durnin said.

Durnin said nine officers in the Smithers detachment have undergone the new and specific training for roadside THC detection. The detachment also has drug recognition experts — a title that requires a high level of training for drug-related impairment.

No one has been arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis in Smithers since the use of recreational cannabis has been legalized, according to Durnin.

“Hopefully people are getting the broader message out there that, yes, there is this legalization but there are certain limitations in the sense that we can’t drive impaired,” Durnin said. “We have to be responsible while driving for the care of ourselves and other people.”

It is unclear if Smithers RCMP will use the THC testing device once it becomes available. Upper level RCMP officials decide which device to use, Durnin explained.

RCMP media relations officer Madonna Saunderson was unable to answer any questions regarding whether any other detachments in the Bulkley Valley were using Dräger DrugTest 5000, if any other detachments have undergone specific training for road THC detection, or if anyone has been arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis since Oct. 17.

An officer who suspects a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle is being impaired by a drug can demand that person take a standard field sobriety test (SFST). If the officer still believes the driver is impaired after the SFST they can demand the person submit to an evaluation by a drug recognition expert or take a sample of their blood.

For more information on the new cannabis rules visit cannabisclarity.ca.

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