In July, 2018, the Federal Government approved the first device for testing drivers’ saliva for the presence of drugs.
Until now, the police would test for drug-impaired driving by conducted a roadside standardized field sobriety test, which involves tests such as standing on one foot or walking in a straight line.
The saliva-testing device is a mobile device which will allow police officers to swab the inside of a driver’s mouth to receive a sample of oral fluid. The oral fluid would then be run in a mobile machine to test for the presence of THC to determine if there has been recent consumption of cannabis. The saliva-testing device has also been approved to test for the recent consumption of cocaine.
If a driver fails a mobile screening device, the result will be used along with other observations to form a police officer’s reasonable grounds that the driver is impaired by drugs. The driver will be arrested and transported to a police station for further testing.
Unlike an alcohol-screen device, the science behind a drug-screening device is much less established. There will be many challenges to the reliability of the mobile device and oral fluid testing.
If you have been charged with drug-impaired driving, contact Lockyer Posner Craig for assistance.
As the date for the legalization of recreational use of cannabis approaches there are still many unanswered questions. One important unknown is what restrictions there will be on home cultivation in Ontario. Although the federal bill allows for home cultivation of up to four plants per household, each province is able to set out their own laws and regulations. For instance, Quebec and Manitoba have already established that, regardless of what is set out in the federal legislation, homegrown cannabis will be banned in those provinces. If the Ontario government follows suit, individuals may need to retain lawyers to challenge the law in order to grow cannabis at home for personal recreational use.
While the Courts have gradually become more lenient with those charged with the use and sale
of cannabis, the use and sale of opioids, such as fentanyl, is attracting harsh treatment in our judicial system. The use of this drug began as a misuse of pharmaceutical fentanyl, a prescription drug in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges. However, consumption of illegally made fentanyl has become more and more common leading to an ongoing problem. Statistics show that Opioid-related overdose deaths have steeply increased in recent years. A substantial amount of these deaths are related to fentanyl products. The public outcry to the devastating effect of this hallucinogen has resulted in a phenomenon commonly referred to as the “fentanyl epidemic”. The courts have acknowledged this crisis and began imposing harsher punishments on fentanyl related offences as compared to charges involving other illicit drugs such as cocaine, crack cocaine and ecstasy. The trend in this area of sentencing is to impose stiffer sentences when the offence involves trafficking in fentanyl.
Being arrested for an offence related to the possession of fentanyl is extremely serious. The use and trafficking of this opioid is becoming more common as testing has shown that heroin and cocaine now are more likely to have fentanyl mixed in – often without the user and/or possessor’s knowledge. It is important for the recreational drug user to know about the serious health and legal consequences arising out of using and dealing in drugs that may contain fentanyl. If you have been arrested for a drug related offence, contact Lockyer Posner Craig for assistance.