It’s been almost a year since Canada legalized adult-use cannabis, and Transport Canada has just now released its official rules for cannabis when it comes to people working in the aviation sector.
Everyone working in aviation — from pilots and the cabin crew to air traffic controllers — is now banned from consuming cannabis for 28 days prior to work.
CBC reported that Canada’s aviation regulations were modified because those working in the sector must have a certain level of “fitness for duty” on the job, which apparently they believe that weeks-old cannabinoids in the blood stream can negatively impact.
Some Canadian companies beat the government to the punch and moved to ban cannabis consumption when the country legalized adult-use cannabis in October 2018. GlobalNews.ca reported in October that WestJet Airlines announced they would be joining their competitors at Air Canada in instituting a ban on off-duty cannabis use for all staff in “safety-sensitive positions.”
WestJet’s spokeswoman Morgan Bell noted that basically anything to do with cannabis was banned on company property and at company events, even, say, if you were bringing a topical to work for someone to give to their spouse.
“We believe these changes reflect our reputation as an industry leader in safety and our expectations that all employees report fit for duty and remain fit for duty at work,” Bell told Global News.
Bell also noted that flight crews and other personnel are only required to abstain from alcohol for 12 hours before jumping in the cockpit. The stated reason for why you have to wait 56 times longer when it comes to pot is that the airlines want to wait for it to be completely out of your system.
According to the American Addition Centers, the effects of even the best cannabis strains on the planet only last a day. This raises the question: What is Transport Canada’s reasoning behind stating 28 days
What is Transport Canada’s reasoning behind stating 28 days is the minimum amount of time it would take for the remnants of your cannabis use to leave your system?
“Cannabis use can cause immediate impairment, but also causes longer-lasting impairment that may not be obvious to the user or to the people around them,” Transport Canada said in a statement last fall on legalization. “Cannabis, like many other substances such as narcotics, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, etc., causes impairment that can affect the judgement and actions of members of a flight crew, including pilots.”
Transport Canada stated that the scientific consensus is that cannabis has long-lasting effects on individuals, even after impairment is no longer felt. “Current tests for the psychoactive chemical in cannabis do not correspond with impairment levels,” they said. So, in the interest of aviation safety, Transport Canada said it has no plans for easing restrictions on the use of cannabis.
Transport Canada is following the lead of other Canadian government organizations, such as the Royal Mounted Canadian Mounted Police. But the RCMP aren’t actually drug tested at random, so they’re essentially working on an honor system, compared to Transport Canada with its wider impairment testing protocol.
TELL US, do you think the effects of cannabis last for weeks?