MADD Canada concerned about marijuana legalization
As Mothers Against Drunk Driving and police department continue to discourage drinking driving, the likelihood of legalized marijuana becoming a reality is creating a new challenge.
MADD Canada president Patricia Hynes-Coates says the new marijuana laws will likely increase the number of drug-impaired drivers, and wants measures to be taken to ensure police are prepared.
"Have the saliva test available so we can actually prove impairment,” said Hynes-Coates. “If we do this and we're not ready, we know that deaths will skyrocket"
Chief John Bates of the Saint John Police Department says Ottawa needs to understand a predicament faced by police departments from coast-to-coast.
"I think that those who are going to change the legislation in this country to permit people to smoke marijuana, had better be prepared to step up to help us fight impaired driving," said Chief Bates.
The chief says training drug recognition experts can be costly.
“We have to send them to the United States for training for weeks at a time,” said Chief Bates. “This all comes at a cost"
Hynes-Coates was in the Maritimes on Tuesday to launch the annual Red Ribbon Campaign to combat impaired driving over the holidays.
Her stepson, Nicolas Coates, was killed by a drunk driver three years ago. He was a promising engineer.
"It's still terrifying. It's still devastating. No day gets easier,” said Hynes-Coates. “I think it kind of gets harder because you miss him. You miss hearing his voice."
Hynes-Coates says she doesn’t want other families to feel the same pain.
The federal government has not specified a date for marijuana legalization, except to say it will happen in this mandate.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.