Winkler Police Service has received a new instrument for detecting THC levels in drivers.
Police Chief Ryan Hunt says the road-side device tests saliva. Readings of five nanograms or higher carry an impaired driving charge. However, Hunt says consuming cannabis and driving is never acceptable, "there are impairing factors even at low levels."
While officers are still being trained on the new equipment, there have already been cases of impaired driving. On December 5, police received a complaint of an erratic driver who was weaving all over the road. Police located the suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. Upon speaking with the driver police detected the odour of marijuana inside the vehicle. The driver, an 18-year-old female, advised there was drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle but no marijuana, and this was confirmed through a search of the vehicle. Due to the odour of marijuana inside the vehicle and the report of erratic driving, the female’s driver’s licence was suspended for 24 hours and her vehicle was towed from the scene.
Residents are also reminded that the legal age for cannabis use in Manitoba is 19.
On December 4, a complaint was received from a resident of Willowdale Crescent regarding two individuals smoking marijuana inside a vehicle parked on the complainant’s driveway. Police attended and spoke with the two occupants, both of whom were found to be in possession of marijuana. Tickets for possession of cannabis by a young person, which carry a $672 fine, were issued as both individuals were under 19 years of age.
Police also remind residents transporting legal cannabis it must be stored in the trunk or back of the vehicle so that it is inaccessible to the driver.