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

West Kelowna RCMP commander recognized with Order of Merit

Staff Sgt. Duncan Dixon’s career spans an impressive 28 years with the RCMP

BC SPCA Kelowna holiday bake sale kicks off Nov. 7

Event will help to raise money for stray and neglected animals

Former Kelowna-based B.C. Dragoons leader pleads guilty to possession of child porn

Sean David Parker pleaded guilty to possession of child porn on Monday

Rutland Residents Association intends to file a complaint with provincial ombudsmen over low-barrier housing

Complaint claims low-barrier housing has had a negative impact on their neighbourhood.

Two UBC professors aim to bridge cultural divide through humanities

Humanities hubs have been created on both the Vancouver and Okanagan UBC campuses

Beauty boutique committed to cleaner, greener industry

The Green Vanity accepts empty product containers for recycling

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

WATCH: Coldstream garage fire as hot as 275 C: deputy fire Chief

Shop fire potential for ‘one heck of a fireworks show,’ O’Hara says

North Okanagan women head up college board

Gloria Morgan named chair and Juliette Cunningham vice-chair Tuesday

Artist waves women’s flag in Okanagan

SheShe declares femininity with all-encompassing exhibit

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Man accused in fatal Salmon Arm church shooting also charged with arson

Parmenter family home badly damaged by fire a month before killing

Most Read