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

Joint-smoking passenger in Saanich car slapped with $230 fine
Saanich police issue over 50 driving tickets and one cannabis ticket at Quadra and McKenzie
That’s the message coming from Saanich police who dished out their first ticket under the new Cannabis Control and Licensing Act to someone smoking a joint in a car on Wednesday.

Police were conducting a traffic enforcement campaign at the intersection of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue that day.

Along with 50 tickets for infractions such as speeding and distracted driving, they also nabbed a passenger smoking marijuana in a vehicle.

Cannabis is allowed inside a vehicle under B.C.’s new pot rules, but only if it’s in a sealed package and inaccessible to the vehicle’s occupants — much like the rules around open containers of alcohol.

Just went through my first "cannabis roadblock." Cop asked me when I had my last drink, and then asked me the last time I had cannabis. Guess this is the new Canadian normal.

“During the stop officers spoke to the driver and, after a conversation with him, were satisfied his ability to operate a motor vehicle had not been affected by his passengers use of cannabis,” police said in a media release.

While most police forces across Canada have yet to obtain any kind of device that would allow roadside testing for high drivers, police say they are still enforcing rules against impaired driving — whether it’s related to drugs or alcohol.

The Saanich Police Department continues to use standard field sobriety testing when drug impaired driving is suspected said Saanich police Sgt. Jereme Leslie in a statement.

This is nothing new to the Saanich Police Department and around half the officers in Saanich are trained to do this testing.

Drivers caught stoned behind the wheel can face fines starting at $1,000, along with 90-day driving prohibitions and possible jail time for repeat offences.

Saanich police’s Traffic Safety Unit handed out one ticket under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and 50 other tickets for Motor Vehicle Act violations during an enforcement campaign at the Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue intersection on Thursday.

Police said the ticket under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act was issued on Oct. 18 after an officer saw a passenger smoking a cannabis cigarette in a vehicle. The passenger received a violation of $230. Section 65 of the act prohibits occupants of a vehicle from using cannabis. Police also spoke with the driver of the vehicle and were satisfied his ability to drive was not affected by his passenger’s use of cannabis.

The Saanich Police Department continues to use standard field sobriety testing when drug impaired driving is suspected. This is nothing new to the Saanich Police Department and around half the officers in Saanich are trained to do this testing. Sgt. Jereme Leslie, spokesman for Saanich police, said in a release.

Within two hours, police also issued more than 50 tickets for violations under the Motor Vehicle Act. According to police, the violations included running red lights, speeding, seatbelt offences and people using cellphones while driving.

Saanich police said the Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue intersection is one of the busiest in the Capital Regional District and is one of the highest crash zones on Vancouver Island.