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City of St.Albert
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Cannabis Impairment

Driving impaired by drugs is just as common and equally as fatal as driving impaired by alcohol. If you consume cannabis, DON’T get behind the wheel. It’s ILLEGAL.

Impaired driving charges are the same regardless of the substance causing the impairment, whether it’s drugs or alcohol.

Penalties for drug-impaired driving and alcohol-impaired driving are the same.

  • First offence: $1,000 fine, 12-month licence suspension and a possible jail sentence of up to 18 months.
  • Second offence: minimum 30 days in jail and a two-year licence suspension.
  • Third or subsequent offence: minimum of 120 days in prison, three-year driving prohibition.
  • Causing bodily harm or death while driving impaired: maximum 10-years in prison or life sentence.

Source: Government of Canada

Provincial Sanctions for Drug-Impaired Driving

The provincial government made the following changes in April 2018:

  • Expanded zero tolerance for drivers in the Graduated Driving Licensing (GDL) program. In addition to zero tolerance for alcohol, there will be zero tolerance for cannabis, cannabis/alcohol combination and illegal drugs in the blood stream.
  • Provincial sanctions for drug impaired drivers are the same as those that currently exist for criminal level alcohol-impaired driving, including:
    • Participation in a one-year ignition interlock program, remedial education, vehicle seizure and immediate 90-day licence suspension.
    • An immediate 90-day, fixed-term licence suspension for drivers who meet the criteria to be charged for impaired driving under the Criminal Code of Canada, followed by participation in a one-year provincial ignition interlock program. Drivers who choose not to participate in the ignition interlock program will remain suspended for their interlock term.

Source: – Government of Alberta


Impaired driving is impaired driving, no matter what the substance may be.

Research from the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction shows that, on average, cannabis use doubles the risk of being involved in a collision.

They found that driving skills are negatively affected after consuming cannabis, including the reduced ability to:

  • track moving objects
  • respond to more than one source of information
  • respond to sudden changes in driving environment

The risk of collision greatly increases if cannabis is consumed with alcohol. Mixing alcohol and drugs such as cannabis significantly increases impairment. In Alberta:

  • 24.1% of all road fatalities involved a driver who tested positive for both alcohol and drugs in 2013
  • 389 people were killed and 5,969 people injured in alcohol-related collisions between 2013 and 2015

Source: Government of Alberta Transportation

Last edited: July 4, 2018

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