Police are warning B.C. residents not to light up a joint in their cars. (Unsplash)

Driving with dope: Police talk rules on cannabis in the car

Even though pot is legal, you can’t smoke in the car

Now that weed is legal across the country, you can drop by your nearest (legal) cannabis store and pick up you package of pot – but how do you get it home?

According to B.C.’s traffic police, you should be careful in how you transport your cannabis. Cpl. Mike Halskov said that the rules for carrying pot in a car are similar to the open container law for alcohol.

“You obviously can’t consume cannabis while operating a vehicle,” said Halskov.

In short: don’t be like a Winnipeg man who received a whopping $672 ticket for allegedly lighting up a joint while in his vehicle just hours after cannabis became legal nationwide.

But even if the keys are out of the ignition, Halksov said, you can’t light up in a car – and neither can your passengers.

“That’s similar to having a passenger drinking a beer in a vehicle, you can’t do that either,” he said.

And just like a bottle of beer, even if you’re not lighting up the joint you still aren’t allowed to have a pack of pot in your cupholder or in your pocket while in a car.

“It’s going to be much like transporting open liquor,” said Halskov.

“The exception [with cannabis] is if it’s still in the packaging, unopened, and still not accessible to the driver or passenger,” said Halskov.

READ MORE: ‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

READ MORE: After 10 years of fighting drunk drivers, Alexa’s Team asks: What about pot?

Legal cannabis, he said, should come in a package similar to cigarettes where it’s clear if the seal has been broken.

But what if you’ve bought your pot, smoked some, and then want to take the rest to a friend’s house?

“Let’s say you go to a restaurant and you order a bottle of wine…. you can do that, you just can’t have it accessible to anybody in the vehicle,” Halskov said.

The same rules apply to pot.

“It should be kept in the trunk or away from easy access of anybody in that vehicle,” said Halskov.

Halskov acknowledged that on day two of legalization, there are still a lot of unknowns.

“It’s going to be a learning curve for everybody – the police and the public,” he said.

READ MORE: Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

READ MORE: 10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

But what’s not unclear, Halskov said, are that police will continue to enforce impaired driving laws just as they did in the decades before legalization.

New laws brought in both federally and provincially give police “additional tools in our tool belts,” he said, to keep high drivers off the roads.

Drivers with between two and five nanograms of THC per millimetre of blood can be fined up to $1,000.

Drivers with more than five nanograms of THC in their blood will receive a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 for their first offence, a mandatory jail sentence of 30 days for their second offence and a mandatory jail sentence of 120 days on any further offences.

If a driver is found at a fault in a fatal crash, they could be sent to prison for life.

In B.C., police can impound a car for 90 days if they “reasonably” suspect that a driver is impaired by drugs. To avoid the impoundment, drivers must pass either a standard field sobriety test or a saliva test at the roadside.

New drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program will have a zero-tolerance policy for any THC in their blood, similar to the rules for alcohol.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lower Mainland suspect identified in fatal northern B.C. hit and run

Suspect and seven other individuals believed involved located on Haida Gwaii

Family of Cameron Kerr plead for driver to come forward

“Stand up and be a human.” Those were the only words that… Continue reading

Gwaii Haanas celebrates new Land-Sea-People plan

Forty per cent of Gwaii Haanas marine areas protected under new, integrated plan

Kitimat arena closed until further notice due to chilling system malfunction

Saturday night’s Terrace River Kings and Kitimat Ice Demons game was cancelled as a result

VIDEO: E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

‘Bait and switch’ warning ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Competition Bureau of Canada is warning shoppers of illegal sale tactics

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Much of the killing was attributed to gang violence, according to Statistics Canada

Sea lion tangled in rope on Vancouver Island

Marine debris is a ‘significant problem’ for marine wildlife

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr in Alberta

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

Most Read