With the legalization of recreational cannabis fast approaching, the Saint John Police Force is warning motorists not to drive under the influence of drugs.
Const. Travis Jones, the drug recognition expert co-ordinator for the force, says they have the training and tools to bust offenders. He says because there is no equivalent to the breathalyzer for drugs such as cannabis, many believe they won’t get charged while driving high.
“From a drug perspective, the drug recognition expert is essentially the instrument,” said Jones. “It is the DRE who measures a number of items and conducts a number of different tests to come up with a decision of whether or not that individual is impaired by a drug, or alcohol, or a combination of the two.”
Once a patrol officer suspects drug impairment, one of the seven experts in the city is called upon to conduct the testing. Once the DRE determines impairment, charges are laid.
Jones says the testing works, in part because of its consistency.
“It’s done exactly the same way in Los Angeles as it is in Saint John as it is in Vancouver. Every single DRE is required to use the same standardized 12-step process, no more, no less.”
He says too often seasoned pot users believe they are able to drive safely while consuming the drug.
“Cannabis absolutely will impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle and it’s also against the law.”
Jones says the city police force will continue to expand its capability to enforce the rules when it comes to impairment.
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