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Alberta to update Traffic Act for marijuana, licence suspensions

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The Alberta government is proposing a new bill that will update the Traffic Safety Act to account for marijuana legalization. If passed, Bill 29 would mean new penalties for driving while under the influence of cannabis.

The zero tolerance policy of the Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program would be expanded from drinking and driving to include driving while high and using other drugs as well. The threshold for high driving falls in line with the federal proposal, where those with two nanograms per milliliter of THC in their blood face a maximum $1,000 fine.

Minister of Transportation Brian Mason Those with five nanograms or more would face increased penalties for a first, second and third offence.

“Impaired driving due to alcohol, cannabis or any other impairing drug or combination of drugs, is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada. These tragedies are entirely avoidable. Alberta’s impaired driving laws aim to reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roads, encourage safe driving behaviour and strongly discourage impaired driving.”

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The bill would also make updates to comply with a court ruling that deemed indefinite license suspensions unconstitutional. Those convicted of impaired driving would receive a 90 day licence suspension followed by one year in an ignition interlock program. The existing law imposed an indefinite licence suspension that stayed in place until the disposition of the court case.

Written by Chris Hunter, Country 99

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