Cannabis behind the wheel

Cannabis behind the wheel

It is illegal to drive a motorized vehicle while impaired by cannabis.

Driving after consuming cannabis raises the risk of a crash. Drug-impaired driving has the same penalties as alcohol-impaired driving.

In 2017, youth who participated in a qualitative research study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction believed that cannabis-impaired driving was safer, or less dangerous, than alcohol-impaired driving. This belief was partly related to the fact that youth didn’t associate the feelings of being high (calm, happy, and relaxed) with risky behaviours that could impair driving skills.1

Among youth who have used cannabis in the past 12 months, 27.8% of those aged 16 to 19 and 43.1% of 20 to 24-year-olds reported having driven within 2 hours of using cannabis.2

There are safety concerns for passengers as well. Many young people get into a car with a driver who has consumed cannabis. 40.9% of youth 16 to 19 and 55.6% of those 20 to 24 reported being a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone who had used cannabis in the past 2 hours.3

Whenever you’re having conversations about impaired driving with your teenager, remind them that their safety is important to you – that they should call you for a ride if they ever consume alcohol or cannabis – no questions asked.

Get more information about impaired driving here. 


1 – McKiernan, A., & Fleming, K. (2017). Canadian Youth Perceptions on Cannabis. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

2, 3 – Canadian Cannabis Survey, 2017

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