Driving high in Nova Scotia: what are the consequences?

Last Updated: Jun 2019 | Categories: Car Insurance

Person smoking cannabis walking in front of car

Driving high in Nova Scotia: what are the consequences?

Recreational cannabis has been legal in Canada since October 17, 2018, but that doesn’t mean you can light up a doobie (smoke a spliff…rip a bong hit…whatever the kids are calling it these days!) then hop in your car and be on your merry way. Driving high in Nova Scotia is treated in a similar way to driving drunk – and it can get you in some serious s***!

While this may seem obvious, let’s first lay out some of the ways that weed can affect your ability to drive:

  • Affects motor skills
  • Slows reaction time
  • Impairs short term memory and concentration
  • Causes drivers to vary speed and to wander
  • Reduces the ability to make decisions quickly or handle unexpected events

CHEEP FACT: A 2012 study showed that cannabis consumption doubled the risk of a fatal or serious injury crash. In short, don’t drive high!

Impaired driving basics

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is illegal. Drivers and passengers are also not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol in a vehicle, whether or not it is moving. The rules for transporting cannabis in a vehicle are the same as alcohol. Cannabis must be in a closed, sealed package and out of reach from anyone in the vehicle.

The fine for consumption of cannabis in a vehicle is up to $2,000, in addition to your license being suspended.

What happens if I’m driving high and I get pulled over?

If you get pulled over and are suspected of impaired driving, you’ll be asked to perform a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST), involving coordination and balance tests. (Yup, the walking in a straight line, stand on one foot kind of thing). If you fail or refuse, a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) may be called to the scene, or you may be required to undergo additional saliva and blood tests at another location.

If you complete the sobriety test and the officer believes that you are impaired, your driver’s license is immediately suspended for anywhere from 7 to 30 days. If you’re found guilty of driving under the influence of cannabis, your license is suspended for anywhere from one year to a permanent revocation of your license.

Fines for driving high in Nova Scotia

Not only are there hefty fines for impaired driving, the cost of your insurance will increase as well (likely by a sizable amount!) Here’s a summary of the some of the penalties you could be facing for impaired driving:

  • First offence: fine of no less than $1,000 and a one-year license suspension.
  • Second offence (within a 10-year period): imprisonment for up to 30 days and a three-year license suspension.
  • Third offence (within a 10-year period): imprisonment for up to 120 days and a give-year license suspension.
  • Fourth offence (within a 10-year period): indefinite revocation of licence.

There can sometimes be additional penalties if there is an accident where somebody is injured, or if a driver has a history of driving convictions.

If I’m convicted of cannabis impaired driving, how will it affect my insurance?

An impaired driving ticket, whether for alcohol or cannabis, is always visible on your driving record. It will typically affect your insurance price and policy eligibility for at least 5 years, depending on the company. Since prices vary based on your other personal details, if you have an impaired driving conviction, give us a call at 1-866-922-4337 and we’ll give you the scoop.

More resources on cannabis and driving

Here are some additional links and resources: