The first holiday season with legalized cannabis could be a dangerous one on roads across British Columbia (BC), according to the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA).

A survey conducted for BCAA by Insights West with both cannabis users and non-users across BC reveals that most people expect to see cannabis appear regularly at holiday festivities. In fact, 67 percent of cannabis users expect to or are open to using cannabis at holiday events, with 54 percent of this group planning to use both cannabis and alcohol. Even people who don’t currently use cannabis may partake, with 11 percent saying they’re open to trying cannabis for the first time over the holiday season; this increases to 18 percent if offered by a relative or friend.

BCAA says expectations for higher cannabis use raises concerns about road safety this holiday season. Added to this is the fact that 38 percent of the BCAA’s survey respondents think they would be safe to drive after consuming the equivalent of one joint.

“This ‘one joint’ myth is worrisome,” said Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Impact.  “It’s a new era and parties may be a bit different from now on.”

He pointed out a recent McGill University clinical study that proves that drivers are significantly impaired for at least five hours after consuming the equivalent of one joint.

“BCAA just wants everyone to have fun and make good decisions,” Pettipas added. “We continue to implore people not to use cannabis and drive. Stay where you are. Find another way home. Never take chances.”

A study on cannabis from Statistics Canada found that 25 percent of users admitted to driving a vehicle within two hours of using cannabis in combination with alcohol, an increase from 15 percent in 2017.