In light of cannabis legalization, Ottawa police plan RIDE programs to remind people not to drive impaired

A file photo of an OPP RIDE program. Global News

Ottawa police announced on Monday that they will be conducting multiple RIDE programs throughout the week as a reminder that driving impaired by drugs or alcohol is illegal.

According to Ottawa police, the RIDE programs include what they are calling a MEGA Ride that will not only involve Ottawa police but other agencies in the National Capital region as well as representatives from MADD.

READ MORE: Ottawa police ready to go when it comes to cannabis legalization: deputy chief

As Ottawa police have outlined in the past, their main focus when it comes to the legalization of cannabis will be on impaired driving. The service says it has 28 trained drug recognition experts and more than 270 trained standardized field sobriety test officers who are able to not only detect impairment by alcohol but by prescription and non-prescription drugs as well.

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“While cannabis may be legal as of October 17th, driving high is not,” wrote Ottawa police in a release. “If you are charged with driving impaired by drugs, you face the same consequences as driving impaired by alcohol, which are a 90 days driver’s licence suspension, a 7-day vehicle impoundment and criminal charges.”

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Click to play video: 'Cannabis perceptions and destigmatization' Cannabis perceptions and destigmatization
Cannabis perceptions and destigmatization – Oct 12, 2018

At the beginning of October, the Ottawa police laid out their plan for the upcoming legalization of cannabis at their police board meeting. The service plans to expand their drug-recognition experts pool and will not opt in to use technology to detect the presence of cannabis.

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“Technology is very new in this area and still emerging,” said Deputy Chief Steve Bell at the police board meeting. “We’ve said right now that we’re not going to step into that. We’re going to wait, use the tried and tested system that we have and let that technology emerge so that when we’re buying something down the road, we know it’s the right device for us.”

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Cannabis will become legal in Canada on Oct. 17.

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