The American Trucking Associations has urged the federal government to lift restrictions on marijuana research in order to make the roads safer.

The ATA has created a new policy in response to general liberalizing of marijuana laws across the U.S. More than 90 million Americans now live in a state that has legalized cannabis for recreational use and the trade body is concerned about the impact increased marijuana use could have on road safety.

It has made a series of recommendations, one of which supports a lifting of the federal restrictions on marijuana research. The group is calling for more research into marijuana’s impact on impairment, especially in conjunction with other substances.

It also urged the government to maintain the right of employers to test for marijuana if they determine that use could adversely affect safety. It backed the development of oral fluid testing and impairment standards, and it also wants dispensaries, cultivators, and manufacturers to pay into a marijuana victims’ compensation fund.

The ATA is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Driving under the influence of cannabis is also a hot topic north of the border.

New research from not-for-profit auto club CAA South Central Ontario suggests that many Ontarians have been getting behind the wheel too soon after consuming cannabis. It commissioned Dig Insights to survey 1,510 people in Ontario between the ages of 19 and 70 who have a valid driver’s license during June 2019 about their cannabis consumption and driving habits.

By upweighting the responses, it claimed that 1.2 million Ontario drivers have driven while high from consuming cannabis at some point. Seventy-two percent reported waiting three hours or less to drive, with 27% said they felt “very or somewhat high” when they did.

“The research has shown us that young Canadians are more at risk of a vehicle crash even five hours after inhaling cannabis,” said Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations at CAA SCO.

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