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Edibles becoming more popular among cannabis-impaired drivers in Ontario, survey says

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More than a third of Ontario drivers who admit to driving under the influence of cannabis say they consumed edibles prior to entering their vehicle.

According to a survey conducted by CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO), about seven per cent of drivers across the province admit to having driven after consuming some sort of cannabis in the past three months.

Of those drivers, about 38 per cent said their product of choice was an edible. This is a roughly 12 per cent increase from the previous year, and double the rate in 2019, the CAA said.

“The data shows us that while drivers primarily engage in cannabis-impaired driving after smoking a joint, the prevalence of driving under the influence of edibles is on the upswing, and that poses a greater risk to road safety,” Michael Stewart, community relations consultant at CAA SCO, said in a statement.

“Edibles are harder to detect and can take up to two hours for the effects to kick in.”

Edible cannabis samples are set aside for evaluation at Cannalysis, a cannabis testing laboratory, in Santa Ana, Calif. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris Carlson

About 70 per cent of cannabis-impaired drivers said they got behind the wheel within three hours of consumption. Nearly half said they felt high while driving.

At the same time, the survey suggests 85 per cent of drivers felt they were confident in their driving ability.

“Despite the misconception that cannabis may not impair driving ability, it affects coordination, reaction time, attention, judgment, and decision-making,” Stewart said.

“We want to emphasize our commitment to public education, urging motorists to stay informed about the risks and penalties of impaired driving.”

The online study of 1,518 adult drivers was conducted in the summer between June 22 and July 5. It suggests that about six per cent of Ontario drivers have been charged with impaired driving, while another six per cent were involved in a collision caused by impaired driving. . However only about half are aware that penalties are the same as alcohol-impaired driving.

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