As we approach the first anniversary of the legalization of cannabis and prepare for the introduction of legal edibles, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is releasing new data that suggests that the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving are misunderstood by many.
It shows that approximately 1.2 million Ontario drivers have, at some point, driven high after consuming cannabis. Seventy-two per cent report waiting three hours or less to get behind the wheel, with 27 per cent feeling very or somewhat high when they did.
“We know that driving under the influence of cannabis affects your ability to drive safely and increases your risk of getting into a crash,” said Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations at CAA SCO. “The research has shown us that young Canadians are more at risk of a vehicle crash even five hours after inhaling cannabis.”
The research also shows that over half of Ontario drivers who use cannabis are “poly-users,” meaning they typically pair cannabis with another substance. Alcohol is by far the most common substance paired with cannabis.
Cannabis-infused edibles are another option that may further complicate matters when it comes to drug-impaired driving. Twelve per cent of non-users indicated they were very or somewhat likely to try edible cannabis products after it becomes legal.
“It is crucial to continue to explore and understand what impact the legalization of edibles may have on Ontario’s roads. If Ontarians choose to consume edibles, they should be aware of its delayed psychoactive effects and the impact on their ability to drive,” said Di Felice.
CAA’s focus is to ensure that road safety, public education and enforcement remain at the forefront of the management of cannabis legalization.
The statistically representative study, commissioned by CAA and conducted by Dig Insights in late June 2019, surveyed 1,510 Ontarian between the ages of 19 and 70 who have a valid driver’s license.