If you're affected by cannabis or other drugs, your ability to drive safely is compromised. Leave the driving to someone sober like a friend, designated driver, taxi, or transit.
Consuming recreational cannabis (marijuana) became legal in Canada in 2018, but that doesn't mean it's legal—or safe—to drive after using it.
Research shows that consuming cannabis impacts your ability to drive safely. Researchers estimate that driving within three hours of consuming cannabis doubles your risk of having a crash.
What happens when you consume cannabis?
Cannabis impairs both the cognitive and motor abilities you use to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Cannabis can also slow your reaction time, slow your ability to make decisions, and make it harder for you to split your attention. These are crucial skills on the road. You never know when you may need to react and make a split-second decision on the road that saves a life.
Cannabis edibles and extracts became legal and available for sale in 2019. Cannabis ingested in the form of edibles is slower to take effect, but the effect can last much longer and be more intense than smoking it.
When is it safe to drive if you have consumed cannabis?
The effects of cannabis vary depending on how often you consume cannabis, how much you've taken, how you've consumed it (smoking vs. eating), your physical and mental state at the time of consumption and other factors. If you're going to consume cannabis, the safe thing to do is to arrange alternative transportation, just like you do when you drink alcohol.
If you are learning to drive or at the novice level, you are restricted from having certain drugs in your system, including THC, while driving.
If you are charged with impaired driving, by either drugs or alcohol or both, you'll face a
variety of penalties that could include fines, Driver Risk Premium and Driver Penalty Points on your licence, having your driver's licence seized, or being prohibited from driving.
Don't forget that illicit drugs and other legal drugs, including prescribed or over-the-counter medicine, may also affect your ability to drive. If you are taking any medication, check with your physician or pharmacist to understand how it may affect you and your ability to drive.
Combining drugs and alcohol can also greatly increase your risk of a crash, so if you're taking medication, make sure you aren't taking it with alcohol.
Get Cannabis Clarity (B.C. government website)