It can be pretty difficult navigating cannabis DUI and laws in Canada and the US. Thankfully, there are some useful resources we can refer to.
Laws around driving high tends to vary a lot. In Canada and the United States, it really depends on which province or state you live in. Thankfully, the United States has a nice app for you to navigate DUI laws across states. Made by the National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving, the app basically summarizes DUI laws and penalties for each state. So, if you’re planning on travelling between states, referring to this app could save you a lot of trouble if you plan on lighting up.
There are some notable differences between how states enforce DUI laws for driving while high. Some states — like Montana and Washington — have specific statutes that explicitly state how much THC you can have in your body. This number is typically 5 nanograms in your body; but again, it’s always best to check. Meanwhile, other states — like California — don’t possess a specific law on cannabis-related DUIs. Most of the time, this means that cannabis falls within laws around drug use while driving, which is usually banned. This is the case for California, where “it is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.”
The Canadian DUI Situation
The States gave their citizens a nice app, but what about Canada? Sadly, we don’t have an equivalent app — which sucks. But since Canada has far fewer subnational regions, it’s not as much of an issue. A lot of this information can be found online, but I want to point to a key difference between the US and Canada. Since cannabis is legal at a federal level in Canada, we actually have national statutes for cannabis-related DUIs. Specifically, if you get caught with 2 to 5 nanograms of THC, it’s a minor offence. And if you got more than 5 nanograms, then it’s a serious offence. Each province and territory still dictate other specifics around driving while high. So, it’s still best to check these laws if you’re planning on visiting different parts of Canada.
Ultimately, a lot of these differences come down to how both countries divide up federal and subnational powers. We’re both big countries, with a lot of regional variety, so having these region-specific laws is normal. It does create a lot of annoyances with how places legislate around cannabis differently, but we just got to inform ourselves of these differences.