Joint-smoking passenger in Saanich car slapped with $230 fine

Consuming cannabis inside of a vehicle remains against the law in B.C. under new legalization rules.
Consuming cannabis inside of a vehicle remains against the law in B.C. under new legalization rules. Getty Images

Cannabis may be legal across Canada now, but that doesn’t mean you can hotbox your car.

That’s the message coming from Saanich police who dished out their first ticket under the new Cannabis Control and Licensing Act to someone smoking a joint in a car on Wednesday.

Police were conducting a traffic enforcement campaign at the intersection of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue that day.

READ MORE: Cannabis IQ: A visitor’s guide to smoking legal marijuana in Canada

Along with 50 tickets for infractions such as speeding and distracted driving, they also nabbed a passenger smoking marijuana in a vehicle.

Cannabis is allowed inside a vehicle under B.C.’s new pot rules, but only if it’s in a sealed package and inaccessible to the vehicle’s occupants — much like the rules around open containers of alcohol.

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The passenger was slapped with a $230 fine.

However, after issuing the violation ticket, officers allowed the vehicle to continue on its way.

READ MORE: How much weed was sold on Canada’s legalization day, province-by-province

“During the stop officers spoke to the driver and, after a conversation with him, were satisfied his ability to operate a motor vehicle had not been affected by his passengers’ use of cannabis,” police said in a media release.

While most police forces across Canada have yet to obtain any kind of device that would allow roadside testing for high drivers, police say they are still enforcing rules against impaired driving — whether it’s related to drugs or alcohol.

“The Saanich Police Department continues to use standard field sobriety testing when drug impaired driving is suspected” said Saanich police Sgt. Jereme Leslie in a statement.

READ MORE: Here are the challenges police could face in laying charges for pot-impaired driving

“This is nothing new to the Saanich Police Department and around half the officers in Saanich are trained to do this testing.”

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Drivers caught stoned behind the wheel can face fines starting at $1,000, along with 90-day driving prohibitions and possible jail time for repeat offences.