(Cannabis Culture/Flickr photo)

Feds approve roadside saliva test ahead of pot legalization

Marijuana becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17

The federal government has approved a saliva test police can use if they suspect a driver is high on drugs.

Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould made the announcement about the the Dräger DrugTest® 5000 on Monday afternoon, following public consultation that began mid-July.

“Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada,” said Wilson-Raybould in a release. “We are giving law enforcement the tools, technology, and the resources they need to protect Canadians on the road.”

The move comes less than three months before recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17.

READ MORE: 14% of people admit to driving after smoking pot: Stats Canada

READ MORE: After 10 years of fighting drunk drivers, Alexa’s Team asks: What about pot?

According to the manufacturer, the Dräger DrugTest® 5000 tests for marijuana, meth, opioids, cocaine and methadone, among other substances.

Under the incoming pot legalization laws, drivers with between two and five nanograms per millimetre of tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active ingredient in pot, in their blood could net a fine of $1,000.

Those with five or more nanograms per millimetre face a minimum fine of $1,000, and up to five years behind bars for repeated offences.

The move follows a four-month pilot project where police collected and analyzed nearly 1,200 saliva samples using a roadside test.

A federally commissioned report found that proper training and standard operating procedures make saliva tests a “useful additional tool” to help detect high drivers.

The report said the test was a “fast, accurate” means of testing saliva samples for drugs such as amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, cannabinoids, and methadone.”


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