Canada’s First Roadside Saliva Test for Cannabis Awaits Final Approval

After much deliberation, the Federal Government is set to approve Canada’s first roadside saliva testing device, just in time for October 17 legalization.

Roadside saliva testing devices were authorized by bill C-46 and will assist police officers in testing drivers roadside for THC, the main psychoactive component in cannabis.

Recommended devices had to be approved by the Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, with the advice of an independent board of toxicologists and traffic safety experts.

The DrugTest 5000, is the first device set for approval as Wilson-Raybould has given a 30-day notice of a ministerial order.

The DrugTest 5000 onsite digital testing system for the qualitative detection of amphetamines, cocaine metabolites, opiates and cannabinoids in oral fluid samples.

The device is manufactured by German company Dräger and has already been approved in other countries, although it may be modified to meet Canadian standards.

Today, police use a standardized field sobriety test to monitor impaired driving roadside. The DrugTest 5000, will provide police with a more accurate way to detect recent drug use.

A failed test gives police reasonable grounds to bring a driver back to the station where a certified drug recognition expert (DRE) will do some more testing. This testing could include a blood test and physical examination.

With the legalization date pushed back to Oct.17, there is a chance that police will be equipped with the devices early enough, but the ministerial order stills needs to wait for a 30-day notice period before any devices are ordered and frontline officers are trained on their use.

Note: The exact cut off levels that will be used have not yet been released.