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High driver, small fine: Man ordered to pay $34 after drug driving charge

Aug 17, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
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The 27-year-old was driving a camper van when he caught the attention of police

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A 27-year-old U.K. man has been ordered to pay £22 (about $34) after he was caught high behind the wheel of his camper van.

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The man was making his way through Powys, a county in Wales, when he attracted the attention of officers, reports Free Press Series.

  1. The driver was charged with possession for the purpose of distribution, possession of over 30 grams of dried cannabis in a public place, possession of proceeds obtained by crime over $5,000 and driving with cannabis readily available. /

    Ontario driver charged with drug trafficking offences as OPP seize over 350 grams of cannabis

  2. The police service has now deployed the new roadside screening devices for THC across the territory. /

    NWT RCMP deploys new roadside screening device for THC

  3. During a vehicle check, officers spotted five large sacks in the patient seat of the ambulance. /

    Special delivery: Man caught transporting 90 kilograms of cannabis in an ambulance

Cannabis is by far the most common drug screened for and detected by the police in the U.K., where the legal limit for THC is 2 micrograms per litre of blood, according to Drug Driving Offence.

The man, who appeared in court this week, was found to have 6.7 micrograms of THC per litre in his blood. In addition to the fine, he was banned from driving for 12 months and discharged conditionally for 12 months.

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The same police interaction also led to a charge of dangerous driving, which was previously settled in a separate court appearance. At that time, the man received a 10-month sentence, suspended for a year, and 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also made to pay additional court fees, totalling £496 (about $771) and ordered to complete 10 days of rehabilitation and 19 thinking skills sessions.

Following the legalization of cannabis in Canada, new regulations for blood drug concentrations went into effect.

For THC, those over 2 nanograms (ng), but under 5 ng, of THC per millilitre of blood are subject to a summary conviction offence, which has a maximum fine of $1,000. Those with over 5 ng can be charged with a hybrid offence, and face a mandatory fine of $1,000 for a first offence, 30 days imprisonment for a second offence and 120 days for a third offence.

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“It should be noted that THC is a more complex molecule than alcohol and the science is unable to provide general guidance to drivers about how much cannabis can be consumed before it is unsafe to drive or before the proposed levels would be exceeded,” the government acknowledged in its draft regulations.

Earlier this month, RCMP in the Northwest Territories began using controversial roadside cannabis-screening devices.

The devices take a saliva sample and test for the presence of THC, but defence lawyers question the accuracy of the results, particularly in cold temperatures.

“The technology just doesn’t exist yet to allow police to make a determination of impairment via drugs using physical equipment,” Kyla Lee, a lawyer based in Vancouver, told The Canadian Press.

Lee is currently representing a woman in Nova Scotia who uses medical cannabis and had her car impounded and her licence suspended after she failed a cannabis saliva test at a roadside checkpoint in 2019. Despite failing the saliva test, the woman passed a sobriety test the same evening.

The case is still before the courts, but Lee anticipates there will be further court challenges in other jurisdictions where roadside screening devices are being employed, including N.W.T.

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