Federal government approves saliva screening roadside test for cannabis

Aug 28 2018, 2:37 pm

The federal government has approved saliva roadside testing for cannabis.

On Monday, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced that the first oral fluid drug screening equipment has been approved for use by law enforcement in Canada.

According to the federal government, the screening equipment will be used to detect the presence of THC, the main impairing component in cannabis, and cocaine in a driver who is suspected of having a drug in their body.

“Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada. Keeping our roads safe means ensuring law enforcement has the tools they need to deter and detect drug-impaired driving,” said Wilson-Raybould. “We are giving law enforcement the tools, technology, and the resources they need to protect Canadians on the road.”

Currently, law enforcement officers have a number of methods they can use to detect impaired driving, including Standard Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Recognition Expert Evaluation. The new drug screening equipment is supposed to provide an additional tool to law enforcement.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale said that the Government of Canada is providing $81 million to provinces and territories to support the purchase of approved screening devices, as well as training and capacity building.

“The percentage of Canadian drivers who are fatally injured in vehicle crashes and test positive for drugs already exceeds the percentage who test positive for alcohol,” Goodale said. “The problem exists right now and we are implementing new tools to deal with it… Together, we’re determined to get this right and keep our roads safe.”

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