Canada’s federal government has approved the first roadside test that checks to see if people are driving high due to consuming marijuana.
Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced the new roadside test at a public event, telling reporters that Ottawa has approved the Drager DrugTest 5000 as the first saliva screening equipment to be used by law enforcement to test for THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
The equipment will be made available to police forces throughout Canada, but the government said it will be up to police forces to decide what testing equipment they want to use. Manufacturers have told federal officials that they could meet demand for roadside saliva testing equipment within four to six weeks.
In June, legislation was passed in Canada’s Parliament that allows for the use of roadside saliva tests to detect the presence of drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines, and marijuana. The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has allocated $160 million for police training and drug-testing equipment over the coming five years, as well as a public awareness campaigns on the dangers of driving while high.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said last month that it’s unlikely to reach its goal of having 2,000 officers trained to spot drug-impaired drivers by the time marijuana becomes legal on October 17. Several law enforcement agencies in Canada have raised concerns about their ability to be ready when the recreational drug becomes legal this year.