Nearly two weeks after the recreational use of pot officially became legal, the unofficial grace period is over.
Officers across the country are handing out violation tickets to anyone caught breaking the rules, consuming the drug while in a vehicle.
Saanich Police has issued its first ticket.
“The passenger was smoking cannabis while a driver was operating that vehicle which is in contravention of the act,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie.
The rules are similar to alcohol. No one in the vehicle can be using it, and it must remain in the packaging in the trunk or a locked glove box. On top of that, you must be 19 years of age in B.C. to be in possession of the substance.
“People that are under that age can be ticketed for using cannabis,” Leslie said.
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That was the case for one Oak Bay teen this past weekend.
Deputy Chief Ray Beroties said an “officer came across an individual parked in a vehicle and rolling his cannabis. The individual was under 19 years of age.”
The teen got off lucky, he could’ve been issued two tickets — one for being a minor, and the other for consuming cannabis while in care and control of a vehicle.
The detachment posted a photo of the ticket to Twitter, writing “Most concerning is he was likely going to drive away under the influence had he not been checked by police. Impaired driving kills people. Why can’t we learn that?”
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said, “We need to make sure we have national campaigns in place so that young people and the public in general understand the rules around cannabis. But this is something that is going to require an ongoing effort of education at all levels.”
In the meantime, the uncertainty opens the door for challenges. Criminal defence Lawyer Sarah Leamon says with no case law in place disputing the violations is one way of gaining some clarity.
“There’s a lot to be determined with respect to whether or not these infractions are being issued on a justifiable basis,” she said.