Can You Be Charged For Impaired Driving With CBD Oil?

May 8, 2019

Canada’s legalization of marihuana is still in its infancy. The legal implications are still being worked out and courts are still interpreting the legislation. So many questions still remain. This includes how new drug laws and stricter regulations on driving while under the influence of cannabis will be handled moving forward. One such question is, “Can you be charged with impaired driving while using CBD?”

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis compound used for a number of purposes, ranging from pain management to reducing anxiety. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabis compound, CBD does not have a psychedelic effect. Some users argue that this means it is safe to drive with CBD in your system.

The topic of impaired driving and CBD oil is especially important to medical marihuana users. Many of these patients medicate with CBD daily. So potential charges for driving under the influence could mean having to give up their right to drive. This could lead to Charter rights violations and the litigation of related constitutional issues.

Breathalyzer Tests For THC

Law enforcement is looking at tools for enforcing drug-impaired driving laws, such as the marihuana breathalyzer. This breathalyzer is under a lot of scrutiny by DUI lawyers. The contest its inaccuracies and the difficulty of determining intoxication by THC levels. However, the device doesn’t appear to target CBD users, since it is only testing for THC.

That doesn’t necessarily mean CBD users are off the hook. Regardless of whether or not you blow within the legal limit, drivers may be subjected to a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).

For more detailed explanation of drug impaired driving and What a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is the article Drug Impaired Driving covers these issues.

Standard Field Sobriety Test & DRE

Regardless of whether or not a driver tests positive for THC they can be subjected to a standard field sobriety test and a DRE. If they determine that the driver appears to be intoxicated, law enforcement can charge them with drug-impaired driving.

As well, admitting to using CBD oil or any form of cannabis gives police enough justification to request a drug test.

Does CBD Show Up On Drug Tests?

On a standard drug test, cannabidiol does not show up. However, that does not mean it is undetectable. Testing that looks specifically for CBD can find it. Most standard tests simply aren’t looking for this compound.

Instead, as with the marihuana breathalyzer, these tests more commonly look for THC. This is somewhere an issue can arise. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains some THC, perhaps enough to fail a breathalyzer depending on the device’s calibration. Even if you blow below the legal limit, charges can still be laid if the DRE determines you to be impaired.

While CBD isolate is a THC-free alternative, studies have found full-spectrum CBD to be more medically effective. This is simply one of many complications still remaining in how Canada plans to enforce legalization.

For more on concerns with the enforcement of legalization, read our How Does Legalization Affect Underage Possession article.

Hire A Drug-Impaired Driving Lawyer In Toronto

If you or a loved one are facing drug-impaired driving charges in Toronto, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer. William Jaksa has over a decade of experience practicing criminal law. He has defended drunk driving and drug-impaired driving charges and knows the ins and outs of these charges, their repercussions and their defence in Toronto law.

Contact William Jaksa today for a consultation.

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