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Police, CAA say more people are driving impaired by edibles


A survey conducted by the Canadian Automobile Association finds that since 2019, there has been a 10 per cent increase in cannabis-impaired drivers.

The survey determined more people are admitting to consuming an edible before driving. With about 10 million drivers in Ontario, that number equals about 156,000 residents who have driven high on edibles in the last three months.

"It's shocking that we're seeing this many people who are getting behind the wheel while high," said Michael Stewart, community relations consultant at the CAA.

"Our data shows an alarming trend in the use of edibles and driving. With the growing popularity of cookies, gummies, and chocolates since legalization, the use of edibles continues to rise and so do people who drive high on edibles."

Stewart warns that edibles pose a greater risk to road safety because they are harder to detect and can take up to two hours for the effects to kick in.

So people may get behind the wheel sober, only to become high mid-trip. Also, the effects can last up to 12 hours and residual effects for up to 24 hours.

The survey also found that in the past three months, about 600,000 Ontario people admitted to driving after consuming cannabis.

North Bay Police Const. Kyle Hughes is reminding drivers RIDE stops are taking place again this year.

“We want to keep the roads as safe as possible so we can make sure everyone had a happy holiday season,” Hughes said.

“The drug impairment is through the roof, which is very, very concerning especially on the road

Almost half of the cannabis-impaired driving was paired with other substances such as alcohol or other drugs. More than half of the cannabis-impaired drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel within three hours of consumption.

A third of cannabis-impaired drivers who drive the same day said they felt high while driving.

While most Ontario drivers say that cannabis-impaired driving is a serious risk to road, only half are aware of the penalties.

"Because of the novelty of edibles, there seems to be a knowledge gap surrounding the impaired-driving laws related to substances other than alcohol,” said Stewart.

“However, studies show that the drug affects nearly every skill related to driving. It impairs a driver's motor skills, making it harder to judge distances, and can slow reaction times.”

Drivers who fail a drug recognition expert's evaluation face an immediate 90-day licence suspension and a seven-day vehicle impoundment.

If convicted in court, drivers will see their licence suspended for at least a year, along with other penalties. Top Stories

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