Eight drug-impaired charges have been laid in Alberta since legalization of recreational cannabis.
It is unknown if the charges were related to cannabis or other drugs.
The number of charges laid in Red Deer is unknown. Red Deer RCMP Sgt. Michael Zufferli said the number won’t be much different than before legalization last October.
He explained that’s because legalizing cannabis doesn’t change people’s views.
“I think everyone was concerned it was kind of a doomsday scenario when cannabis was legalized, but I think what we need to realize is if somebody was making the decision to drive while using cannabis before legalization, they would still be making the decision now,” said Zufferli, the detachment’s traffic services unit commander.
“I don’t think the status of cannabis changing would increase or decrease anybody’s views on driving impaired … so we haven’t seen a huge change in numbers.”
Red Deer RCMP do not use roadside cannabis screening devices to determine if a person is impaired.
They instead rely on the standardized field sobriety test, which considers a driver’s ability to pay attention, speak clearly and grab their licence and registration correctly, among other factors.
Once an officer suspects the driver is impaired, a drug recognition expert gets involved and blood and urine samples are taken.