VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The holiday party season is well underway, and it’s the first one with legalized pot in Canada. That could make for a lot of impaired driving on BC roads.
According to an Insights West survey conducted for BCAA, about two thirds (67%) of pot smokers plan to light up at holiday events this year. More than half of them will be using both cannabis and booze at the same time.
It seems a lot of people are worried about what this means for road safety, with 93 per cent of survey respondents saying they are worried about those who decide to drive home after mixing pot and alcohol.
The survey also suggests 11 per cent of non-users are open to trying weed for the first time over the holiday season. Eighteen per cent are willing to try it, if it is offered to them by a friend or family member.
“Now that cannabis is legal, it’s coming out of the shadows a little bit more. It’s a little bit more mainstream and socially acceptable. So, people are curious,” said Shawn Pettipas with BCAA.
He says a lot of pot smokers don’t understand how long cannabis can affect them. “Thirty-eight per cent of our respondents think that they’re okay to drive after the equivalent of just one joint. We know that that’s just not true.”
Police in Vancouver are no stranger to dealing with pot.
Cst. Jason Doucette says there’s a simple way to help ensure you get home safe: plan ahead. “If you’re going to be consuming anything — whether it be alcohol or cannabis — arrange for another ride home. It’s the safest thing to do.”
“If you do find yourself out and unexpected plans come up, leave your car there. Arrange for another ride home,” he added.
Doucette adds the VPD will be out in force, with several road checks around the city. “Some you’lll see coming from a didstance, some you won’t.”
Driving while impaired can land you anything from a 24-hour road suspension to criminal charges.
– With files from Sonia Aslam