Marijuana Awareness Campaign:

Be Weed Wise Did you know that BC has the highest rates of marijuana use in the country? The Canadian Addictions Survey reports that 52% of BC residents (age 15+) surveyed reported that they have used marijuana. We thought that it was important to inform the public about what the latest research is saying about marijuana. ?Be Weed Wise? is an awareness campaign designed to do just that. ?Be Weed Wise? involves a poster campaign, as well as the distribution of brochures on marijuana.If you would like to get free copies of the posters or brochures and for more information on ?Be Weed Wise? contact Lesley Coates Prevention Coordinator, Kelowna Alcohol and Drug Services at 870- 5777 .

Marijuana and Driving

Research shows that when under the influence of marijuana drivers have been found to have a harder time following their lane (known as tracking ability). It also reduces a driver?s ability to perceive changes in the relative speed of other vehicles and to adjust his/her own speed accordingly.

Marijuana use has been found to increase the reaction time needed to respond to an emergency decision-making task, such as responding to sudden changes in speed of the vehicle ahead or to the vehicle?s brake lights. A driver needs to notice something in order to respond to it and that has to do with the driver?s attention.

Because marijuana use can disturb concentration and short-term memory, a driver has a harder time paying attention to events and situations on the road.

Marijuana impairment is most severe during what is known as the acute phase, which typically lasts for up to 60 minutes after smoking. This is followed by postacute (the phase after the acute one) and residual phases. The residual phase is 150 minutes or more after smoking, during which impairment decreases rapidly. The degree of impairment during the residual phase depends on the amount consumed.

After smoking a so-called typical dose (about 20 mg) of THC, the residual phase lasts 2-3 hours. Regular users have been found to experience less effect from the same dose. Unlike alcohol, marijuana?s THC concentrations can vary significantly from batch to batch. The degree of impairment is dose related. Since cannabis is illegal and unregulated, there is no standardized consumption limit as there is for drinking alcohol and driving. Using alcohol in combination with marijuana even at low doses has been shown to produce severe driving impairment and increase the risk of accidents.

It is the effects of marijuana on driving–not the legal status of pot–that makes its use illegal both before or while taking Control of a motor vehicle.

This article is brought to you at the request of the local detachment of the RCMP, and Tumbler Ridge News and has been reprinted with permission: Lesley Coates Prevention Coordinator Kelowna Alcohol and Drug Services