Health & Wellness

Don’t Drive High!

A year after legalization, Canadians are concerned about cannabis and road safety

By Jennifer Hughes

Photos: iStock/Toa55 (hands) and Ifness (cannabis sign).

The use of cannabis became legal in Canada in October 2018. In the year since, cannabis use has been on the rise. Nearly a quarter (23%) of adults across the country got high during the last few months of 2018, while 16% admit that their use has increased since legalization, according to a study done by Canadian research company Insights West.

Now a new study suggests that just under three quarters of Canadians (71%) are worried about the impact of cannabis use on road safety. The study was conducted by Atomic Research on behalf of Abbott, a global health-care company.

The survey, which polled just over 1,000 Canadians, found that almost half of Canadians (46%) don’t believe that enough is being done to stop Canadians from driving under the influence of drugs, and 43% say they don’t believe that law enforcement officers have a reliable or quick way of testing drivers who might be high. One-third said they know someone who has driven “soon after taking drugs.”

A CAA poll suggests that concerns about the effect of cannabis use by drivers is warranted: one in five (21%) of those surveyed admit that they’ve been in a car when the driver was under the influence of cannabis, while 16% of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that marijuana doesn’t affect driving or even that it makes for a better driver. According to CAA’s website: “Cannabis is already second only to alcohol as the drug most frequently found among drivers involved in crashes and drivers charged with impaired driving.”

“These survey results affirm that more must be done to educate cannabis consumers about the profound public safety implications to driving while high,” Erin Holmes of said in a statement.