We’re a few months out from cannabis legalization, and I decided to go ahead and look at some of the statistics for why people have received cannabis related tickets in the last while. Statistics for Manitoba aren’t as widely available as I’d like them to be, compared to what you might see out of BC or Ontario, but that’s pretty reasonable, considering our much lower population; less folks, less sample size. That said, I have taken a look at some of the statistics from Ontario, and there’s some interesting things to note.

As of January 22nd, police in Ontario were writing about 21 cannabis related tickets per day. Quite a number of the tickets went to youth under the age of 19 who were in possession of cannabis; in Ontario, these youth are charged 200$, or can go to an approved drug education program. Some of the tickets went to dispensaries who were operating illegally; the police in Ontario and BC have begun to crack down on the grey market retailers that used to operate with impunity. The vast majority of tickets, however, didn’t have anything to do with youth possession, illegal sales, or intoxicated driving; rather, they were almost all for having cannabis available in a vehicle.

Would you drive with a half-drunk bottle of rum in your lap? No, you definitely wouldn’t. You don’t want to attract that kind of attention from police, and it looks like you’ve probably been drinking and driving. In the same vein, please don’t drive with an open baggie of weed in your lap; it’s a really bad look, and it gives police a reason to suspect that you’re driving high. There are ways you can transport cannabis in your vehicle without it being considered “available”. When your cannabis is still unopened and in its original packaging, it’s not considered available in Ontario, but the laws differ from province to province. Here in Manitoba, your cannabis must be stored in the trunk to be considered unavailable. Failing to properly store your cannabis for transportation carries with it a $237 fine.

Before reading that, were you aware of the regulations surrounding transportation of cannabis in Manitoba? Did you know that it differs from province to province? I suspect that you did not, and that, in fact, most people reading didn’t. One of the biggest challenges when new legislation comes into play is informing citizens about how the law actually works; while the Government of Canada and Manitoba are trying their best, there is a huge disconnect between what people need to know and what they actually know. Should you be arrested or fined for reasons you don’t understand, getting an attorney is essential for exactly this reason; you don’t know all the laws. This is especially true for impaired driving, because the legal consequences can be so dire; an impaired driving defence lawyer is the best bet to keep you informed and give you the best results in court.