Since recreational cannabis has become legal in Canada, there has been a discussion around impaired driving and how to test for it. The first testing device to be approved for use by Canadian police was the Drager DrugTest 5000. A second device, the Abbott SoToxa, has now been approved as of June 2019. Almost one year elapsed between the first and second devices’ approvals.
Both devices are designed to detect presence of THC. Since they can’t measure impairment of a driver, they are only used to tell if a driver has recently used cannabis. The testing needs to be combined with other observations to judge impairment. Read on to learn more about them.
Cannabis Retail Students will Be Interested in the First Test that Was Approved
The Drager DrugTest 5000 is a mobile device that can test for more than THC – it also has the ability to detect other substances such as:
It does this using a saliva sample. The device, when used, is meant to provide “reasonable grounds” for further investigation, rather than acting as an indicator of impaired driving. These further investigations can be conducted through:
- Drug recognition evaluation: Using interviewing, eye examination, vital signs and psychophysical tests, an officer can judge whether a person’s behaviour is due to drug use or other medical factors.
- Blood samples: Cannabinoids are detectable in the blood and while this is an invasive test, it is sometimes used if necessary for an investigation.
- Urine samples: This can be used if necessary to test for THC or THC metabolites.
The device can also be used to evaluate unknown substances using a sample. While having the advantage of being uninvasive and portable, the tool has been criticized. A major flaw identified by lawyers is that it may not work very well in lower temperatures. In addition, it also takes longer than a breathalyser, leading to detaining drivers without arrest for a longer time.
The Second Roadside Cannabis Test You Should Be Familiar With
As a cannabis retail professional, it’s important to you that people use products safely and don’t drive impaired. While testing devices aren’t perfect, they do point to a future where further developments could help keep roads safer.
The second device to be approved is the Abbott SoToxa, which also uses a saliva sample. Abbot claims that the SoToxa works in just a few minutes, addressing the issue of detaining drivers for too long. Detaining people without arrest could be challenged as a violation of rights and freedoms.
This device is seen as an improved method due to:
- Its smaller size
- Its faster speed
- Its wider range of operational temperature
Advantages of Roadside Drug Testing for Cannabis Retail
If you open a cannabis store, you will have concerns and a sense of vigilance regarding:
- Your customers’ health and safety
- Responsible use of cannabis products
- Positive attitudes towards cannabis
The cannabis industry in general views responsible use as very important. Roadside testing has been proven to act as a deterrent of impaired driving, with 41% of drug users in Australia saying they would choose not to drive after consuming a drug because of roadside testing.
This alone could increase safety on the roads—and as devices develop, more accuracy could be possible in the future.
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