Yukon RCMP don’t yet know if they will have hand-held marijuana detection equipment. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images) Yukon RCMP say they’re preparing for marijuana legalization, which includes efforts to prevent impaired driving. However, there are still some questions about equipment.
Staff Sgt. Jane Boissoneault said the RCMP doesn’t know if the Yukon government will buy hand-held testing devices that can detect THC, the primary psychoactive found in marijuana.
"There is an approved device — it’s been approved by the federal government and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. But as for the actual procurement, that’s up to the Yukon government," said Boissoneault.
She said the devices would be "nice-to-have," but they aren’t essential to catch impaired drivers.
"For the most part there won’t be any change," said Boissoneault. "Right now it’s illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol or a drug, and it will remain so once cannabis is legal."
For now, police in Yukon will continue to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, a series of tests on cognitive and motor skills designed to flag any impairment, not just from cannabis use. A police officer conducting a checkstop. Yukon RCMP will continue to use the Standardized Field Sobriety Test. People who fail the sobriety test are taken to a police station where they are subject to further testing. That may include pupil, blood pressure, temperature and urine tests, as well as an interview.
Refusing testing amounts to a criminal offence — the same as refusing a breathalyzer test if one is suspected of alcohol impairment. Drug recognition experts
Boissoneault says officers will continue to crack down on illegal marijuana sales, though it will be hard to prove if marijuana was obtained illegally, given that people can grow it at home.
She says police will be enforcing rules about containers in vehicles, as well as the maximum amounts people are allowed to carry.
"It’s like liquor, it has to be sealed and away from any occupants of the vehicle."
Yukon police will be sending more officers for training in B.C. to be certified as drug recognition experts. Boisonneault did not say if there would be an increase in road patrols to coincide with legalization.
CBC has contacted the Yukon government to confirm if the THC-detecting devices will be purchased.
Nationwide cannabis legalization happens Oct. 17.
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