2 drivers test positive for THC since Regina police rolled out new cannabis roadside test

The SoToxa device checks for THC levels in drivers who are suspected of driving while under the influence of cannabis. Adrian Raaber / Global News

A Regina man saw his driver’s licence suspended for 72 hours after he was the first person to be tested positive for THC by the Regina Police Service’s new roadside drug test.

The man was pulled over on Feb. 13 by officers who were responding to a report of an impaired driver.

Cpl. Andree Sieber used a SoToxa device to test for the presence of THC in the man’s saliva. When his result came back positive, his licence was suspended and his car was impounded for three days.

“This device will test for recent consumption. Anyone that has 25 nanograms [per millilitre of THC] or higher within their oral fluid will test positive,” said Sieber.
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The legal limit is five nanograms per millilitres.

Since the device started being used on Feb. 10, Sieber has tested two people for THC. Both results ended up positive and were the result of people reporting the drivers as impaired.

The SoToxa device has been approved for use under the Criminal Code. All police services within Saskatchewan have been provided with a device by the federal government.

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Sieber says the device can provide many advantages for the Regina Police Service.

“The roadside device is quick and simple and we can test right there,” Seiber said, adding that it’s no longer necessary to detain drivers so that they can be tested at the police station.

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The SoToxa is used by having the driver provide a swab of their saliva. An indicator will turn blue to notify the officer that enough saliva has been collected.

It then takes nine minutes for the machine to provide either a positive or negative result. An official reading is not given.

The consequences of a positive test can vary, from having your driver’s licence suspended to getting your vehicle impounded to being charged with impaired driving.

Right now, only four officers within the Regina Police Service are trained to use the device, including Seiber.

“I believe as our officers are more comfortable and we train our officers, we’re going to use it more and more,” Seiber said.

The device can only read THC levels. SoToxa will not give a positive result for CBD use or other drugs.

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