CAA conducted a survey in 2023 of Manitobans who drive while under the influence of edible cannabis.

CAA Manitoba manager of government and Community relations Ewald Friesen says it's the 4/20 weekend, and drivers should be made aware.

"We noticed that quite a number of things your listeners would find alarming, with probably one of the most important things we discovered, was when it comes to cannabis-impaired driving, the trend is folks are consuming edibles more and more often. Of course, it's the edible form of cannabis that showing up in the cannabis-impaired driving test. That means the statistics say or inform us that one third of Manitobans have driven high using edible form of cannabis. Now there are a few issues concerning this. The first one is that it's often very hard to detect cannabis-impaired driving because the roadside tests just simply aren't there, but also there's a kind of disbelief, or there's this misunderstanding that cannabis-impaired driving doesn't affect your driving in the way that other forms of impairment would. What we're doing today is just getting out there and reminding folks that cannabis-impaired driving is, in fact, impaired driving." 

Friesen says, as far as detection of edible cannabis in any given person, it's still pretty much the Wild West out there.

"A lot of these things haven't been verified in court just yet as evidence, let's say, for an impaired driving charge. A lot of this is still to be determined. And one of the other things is, I suppose, the psychological component to all of this. Oftentimes, folks who drive high, don't think that it has the same impact on their driving ability as alcohol impairment would. So, there's a kind of a false sense of confidence. Our survey also told us that 61 per cent of folks who've consumed at edible forms of cannabis, don't wait the requisite three hours before attempting to drive. And 61 per cent of them will simply get behind the wheel within three hours of consuming cannabis. This could be a problem for a number of reasons. If you are new to edibles, you may not know how much you need to take. The other one is we can never really be entirely sure how your body will absorb a dose. And then also just the timing; when will it kick in? If we're not waiting that three hours, then we could have some issues." 

Friesen says another part of this issue is the general false sense of confidence that people feel when they drive high.

"76 per cent of respondents said that they feel confident behind the wheel after consuming cannabis. This is, of course, incorrect because we know from study from study after study that the effects on your reaction time are delayed. It's a little bit more difficult for you to judge distance between you and the car ahead of you. This establishes a bit of a problem, not only with you out there on the road, but, of course, everybody else. So, there is a real concern about this."

He notes most people are also not aware of the fact that cannabis-impaired driving has the same consequences as alcohol-impaired driving. In other words, we're talking about license suspension and the dropping of ten demerit points.

"You could have your car impounded and if there's an accident, heaven forbid, there could be even more serious consequences. In the lead-up to 420, your friends here at CAA are asking folks to be very conscious of driving high, I mean we're not telling you not to, but we are saying that there are some precautions that all of us can take to be a little safer on the road. That means that at the very least, wait those three hours, and make other alternatives to get home safely, whether that's an Uber or a cab or a friend. Maybe test your edibles. Test your cannabis consumption in safer moments before getting behind the wheel."