Police are warning B.C. residents not to light up a joint in their cars. (Unsplash)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read