OHS Canada Magazine

Alberta introducing rules to align with federal cannabis legalization plan

EDMONTON – Alberta is putting the legislative pieces in place for legalized marijuana, starting with changes to align its rules with pending Criminal Code amendments.

“Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death and injury in Canada,” Transportation Minister Brian Mason said Tuesday after introducing Bill 29 in the legislature. “If this bill passes, it will support our government’s goal of zero impairment (and) related collisions and fatalities on Alberta roads.”

Marijuana is to be legal across Canada as of July 1, and the federal government is revising and toughening criminal charges for impaired driving to include cannabis and mixing cannabis with alcohol while behind the wheel.

Normally, an Alberta driver caught with a blood alcohol level over .08 has also had their driver’s licence suspended until the case was resolved in court, but a recent Alberta Court of Appeal ruling said that penalty was unfair and unconstitutional.

Under the bill, it will now be a fixed-term suspension of 90 days, but it could be extended to a year if the driver doesn’t agree to participate in an ignition interlock program, at a cost of $1,400.


There is currently zero tolerance for any alcohol in the system of a new driver in Alberta, and that ban will be extended to marijuana. The new Criminal Code rules will see a fine for a driver with less than five nanograms of THC, the cannabis compound that gives the user a “high” in their bloodstream. Stiffer fines and eventually mandatory jail time could be imposed for those caught with five nanograms or more.

Ottawa is bringing in a roadside saliva tests to check for drug impairment, and the rules are expected to be in place when marijuana is legalized.

The federal government is delivering $81 million to the provinces and territories over the next five years to update police on checking and testing for drug-impaired driving. The changes are just one part of the new legal marijuana regime. The federal government will handle overall health rules but the provinces will decide how to distribute and sell cannabis.

On Thursday the province is rolling out legislation to back up its plan on how it will sell cannabis while balancing public safety.

Alberta has already proposed setting 18 as the minimum age to use cannabis and is eyeing selling it through a series of private stores over the counter but through the government online.

Copyright (c) 2017 The Canadian Press

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1 Comment » for Alberta introducing rules to align with federal cannabis legalization plan
  1. James Tripp says:

    Medical-cannabis users can run at blood levels of 10 to 50 ng/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and even higher in some cases. This also ignores levels of cannabinoids, which is a major mitigating factor in the psychoactive effects of THC. The daily use of cannabis as medicine results in a complete tolerance to the psychoactive effects of THC due to the receding CB1 receptors in the central nervous system, specifically the brain, and thus, there is no impairment in the ability to operate a motor vehicle.
    Recreational use is most often neither based on consistent strain nor concentration of product, as the user is seeking very different results than that of a medicinal user. A medicinal user spends a great deal of time and effort finding the exact dosage, concentration and specific product to use, and then strives to maintain a systemic daily dose. This method of medicinal administration results in a complete tolerance to the psychoactive effects of THC, but a recreational user is usually seeking the “high” from THC and thus, uses the product much differently.

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