2024 will mark six years after the legalization of marijuana in Canada. Since then, the former illegal drug exploded in popularity and has become a point of concern for law enforcement. 

"We're seeing a lot more people driving while under the influence of marijuana. Probably in the last month, the majority of our suspensions have been for people driving while using THC. So, we're seeing a rise in it, and with more ways to test drivers, we're finding more people driving while under the influence," Sergeant Evan Handley with the Estevan Police Service said. 

Recently, law enforcement found a male driver failing a roadside THC test after a traffic stop in Estevan. As a result, his license was suspended for 60 days and the vehicle was impounded for 3 days. 

Now, what is a roadside THC test? Sgt. Handley shared that it's not that much different from a breathalyzer test motorists might be familiar with. 

"Under the Criminal Code, we can ask any driver if we have reasonable suspicion that they have been using drugs or alcohol to provide a sample of oral fluid into an oral fluid screening device. So, much like alcohol, we can do that roadside and it takes approximately 10 minutes and it'll test if you have any THC in your saliva." 

After a positive test, Handley said that law enforcement can proceed with either a suspension or a Criminal Code charge. 

He admits that the popularity of cannabis and cannabis-based products has made traffic enforcement more difficult. The statistics doesn't help either. According to the Canadian Cannabis Survey from 2022 (the most recent available data), 23% of respondents had admitted to driving within two hours of smoking or vapourizing cannabis at some point in their life. The survey also found driving after smoking or vaping cannabis was more prevalent among males between 20-24 and individuals aged 25 years and older. 

"No matter if it's drugs or alcohol, you're putting your life at risk when you're driving under the influence," Handley warns. 

Cannabis was officially legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018.