Pot smokers should proceed with caution

Oct 4, 2018 By Melody Izadi

Canadian cannabis consumers should be cautious after marijuana laws change Oct. 17 because new police powers and the validity of impairment testing equipment both have yet to be tested in court, says Toronto criminal lawyer Melody Izadi.

“You don’t want to be the test case for any part of this major change,” says Izadi, an associate with Caramanna, Friedberg LLP.

“Police have expanded discretionary powers which have not been tested in court, and neither has the device approved to test for cannabis use. And the courts have not ascertained what the scientific level of impairment is when operating a vehicle, unlike blood alcohol levels which have long been established,” says Izadi.

The thing to remember, she tells AdvocateDaily.com, is that Oct. 17 does not mean marijuana is completely legal in Canada.

“It’s a decriminalization but there are still going to be rules, regulations, and criminal charges possible,” Izadi says. “They include operating a vehicle while impaired by cannabis and possession of more than the allowed amount for personal use and even consuming cannabis in public.

"You are not going to get away with walking down Yonge Street blazing a joint. You could be charged criminally, or get a ticket and a fine. So you still may have to go to court and get legal advice.”

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