A major traffic checkstop on Friday, September 1 at the Highway 16 weigh scale northwest of Saskatoon resulted in 13 impaired driving charges.

But what was most concerning, according to Warman RCMP Staff Sergeant Jason Teniuk, is that all the impaired driving charges were for impairment by drugs, specifically cannabis.

“Drivers who get behind the wheel after smoking marijuana (cannabis) is a growing trend,” said Teniuk in a report to the Warman City Council committee of the whole meeting on Monday, September 18. “Every single one of those picked up for impaired driving was for marijuana; every single one.

“It’s very disturbing. The drivers arrested for impaired driving were all under 30. The younger generation needs to understand that it’s illegal to smoke marijuana and drive, just as it’s illegal to drink alcohol and drive.

“The laws are exactly the same. You can purchase marijuana legally, just as you can buy alcohol legally. But you can’t consume it in your vehicle.”

Teniuk said the RCMP and other police agencies are targeting drug-impaired driving offenses during patrols and checkstops. He noted that Saskatchewan has always had a serious problem with alcohol-impaired drivers, but marijuana-impaired drivers are becoming much more frequent.

Teniuk said the September 1 traffic checkstop on Highway 16 was a major undertaking.  There were over 50 police officers from across the province taking part in the operation, including the RCMP, Saskatoon Police Service, Corman Park Police, and other municipal police services.

He said the checkstop was held between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; with over 1,700 vehicles pulled over during that period.

Police laid a total of 18 charges altogether as a result of the checkstop, with 18 vehicles impounded.

Teniuk said the 13 impaired driving charges were laid after officers detected evidence of marijuana use in the vehicles.

“The smell of weed was very strong in all those cases,” said Teniuk.