Fines, but no drug penalties for Saanich motorist caught throwing a joint out the window

In this photo illustration, smoke from a cannabis oil vaporizer is seen as the driver is behind the wheel of a car in North Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward

A Saanich motorist caught throwing a joint out the window of their vehicle will face some hefty fines β€” but no drug penalties.

According to Saanich police, the incident happened Monday morning, not long after the department had taken to social media with a warning about dropping lit cigarettes out of their vehicles.

“To make it worse they were smoking a marijuana cigarette while driving,” the SPD’s traffic unit tweeted.

The driver was slapped with a $575 fine under the Wildfire Act for dropping the lit joint, and another $253 for speeding in a playground zone and $109 for failing to update their address under the Motor Vehicle Act.

But Saanich police spokesperson Sgt. Julie Fast said the driver won’t face a penalty for the cannabis.

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

“The officer is a Drug Recognition Expert and was satisfied through his interaction with the driver, that he was not legally impaired,” wrote Fast in an email.

“He could have issued another violation ticket for consuming cannabis while driving but he chose to use his discretion and only issued him tickets for the other 3 offences… which totalled more than $900 in fines.”

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Cannabis driving laws applied inconsistently – Jul 18, 2019

It is illegal to operate a vehicle in Canada while consuming cannabis.

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

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B.C. drivers found to be impaired can face a fine of up to $1,000 for THC blood concentrations between 2ng and 5ng, while penalties for higher THC concentrations start at $1,000 and climb from there.

Police also have the power to impound a vehicle or suspend a driver’s licence.

Drivers charged and convicted under the Criminal Code of Canada for impaired driving face a minimum $1,000 fine and possible jail time.