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CAA seeing more calls for drivers impaired by cannabis

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As the 4/20 weekend approaches, Manitobans are being warned about the risks of driving while impaired by cannabis.

That’s because a survey from CAA Manitoba found that since legalization, 27 per cent of cannabis-impaired drivers in Manitoba have gotten behind the wheel after the consumption of an edible.

The survey also found that 61 per cent of cannabis-impaired drivers wait less than three hours before driving.

“We’ve got a bit of a situation here where there’s an education gap in cannabis, especially edibles, usage and driving,” said Ewald Friesen, CAA Manitoba’s community and government relations manager.

Friesen noted that consuming cannabis can impact a driver’s coordination, reaction time, as well their ability to measure the distance between themselves and other cars around them.

“All of which does not spell a particularly safe message out there on the road and is something that can be avoided,” he said.

To stay safe, Friesen urges Manitobans who’ve consumed cannabis to not get behind the wheel and make alternative travel plans.

He added that if you’ve eaten an edible and feel it hasn’t kicked in, you still should not drive.

“If you’re feeling good to drive, but you’ve consumed cannabis, take pause,” he said.

“Maybe make arrangements to stay where you are or to get a ride or to get a [designated driver] of some kind.”

Friesen noted that drug-impaired driving comes with the same penalties as alcohol-impaired driving. This includes fines, licence suspension, impoundment of your vehicle, an impaired driving assessment and possible charges.

“All of this can be avoided with some planning,” he said. “And just keeping safety in mind as we enter this 4/20 weekend.”

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