'Low number' of 8 cannabis-related driving offences during first year of legalization: Police chief
SASKATOON -- During the first year of cannabis legalization, starting Oct. 17, 2018, eight of 41 charges laid for impaired driving in Saskatoon were cannabis related.
The numbers were released in a report called the "Impact of Legalization of Cannabis After One Year," signed off on by Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper.
"It is a low number and I think that our experience here mirrors what we're seeing across Canada," he told CTV News.
"The legalization of cannabis hasn't really impacted impaired driving in a notable way."
In January, Saskatoon police introduced the Draeger 5000 – a saliva test meant to help detect cannabis or cocaine during roadside stops.
The device wasn't used until July, due to a lack of investigators trained on how to use it.
The Draeger 5000 was used 12 times during check stops, resulting in nine roadside suspensions for cannabis use.
In January, Saskatoon police busted an unlicensed pot shop on Second Avenue.
Three people working at the outlet, which is now closed, were charged with possession of cannabis known to be illicit and distribution of more than 30 grams.
More than 300 hours went into the investigation, costing $17,000 in wages.
The police board estimates training officers during the first year of legalization cost $138,849.51 and another $115,291.29 the year before.
Saskatoon police will soon be equipped with a new and smaller roadside device, Cooper said.
"We're excited to see whether that'll be more useful and another tool in our tool kit to fight impaired driving."
"It can be anticipated that there will be an ongoing necessity to continue training Drug Recognition Experts in the future due to staff turnover, changes in best practices ,and court decisions," the report said.
The device is expected to be rolled out next year.