While Canada has passed a bill to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in the early 2000s, some provinces have also legalized marijuana in terms of recreational usage. The legalization of recreation marijuana could impact a lot of other fields as well, but in terms of personal injury law specifically, we are wondering how it could impact the insurance coverage related to car accidents. Or rather, how insurers would most likely try to deny benefits to drivers who would be legally using marijuana.
Legalization of Medical Marijuana
As previously mentioned, Canada has legalized medical marijuana back in the early 2000s. This is because many people with illnesses such as PTSD, chronic pain, and other severe health problems have found medical marijuana to be the only thing capable of relieving their symptoms. The use of marijuana as treatment option for severe conditions has been scientifically approved, and now fills a hole no other practices in modern medicine could fill. And thus, it has finally been decriminalized and people can now treat their symptoms without fear of imprisonment.
Later on, in 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada made further adjustments to the law. These changes allowed all patients to not just have access to dried marijuana, as had previously been the case, but also to other forms, such as oils. The final regulatory regime for medical marijuana, which is currently still in place, was implemented in mid-2016.
The Debate Over Recreational Marijuana
Following this, the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation was brought to life. In late 2016, this task force issued one final report in regards to the legalization, which was followed by the introduction of the C-45 Bill, also known as the Cannabis Act, into the House of Commons. In late November of 2017, Bill C-45 was passed, making Canada the second country in the world to have legalized recreational marijuana on a nationwide level, coming in right after Uruguay. On October 17, 2018, recreational marijuana became legal across the nation.
Repercussions on accident benefits
It is going to affect the alertness levels and driving capabilities if the driver is under the influence of drugs. Most of the insurance companies will use this to deny claims especially those that come under Section 4 of the Statutory Accident Benefits (SAB). This cover the no-fault cover in an accident, but denies multiple benefits, if the insured driver was convicted of a criminal offence albeit driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as per Section 30 of the Act.
Additionally, legalization of marijuana can affect the optional coverage. As per the Motor vehicle insurance policies, there are certain minimum coverage that is needed but other optional coverages like loss or damage to the vehicle due to theft or collision are available at higher premiums. This is denied if the accident was due to DUI. That is why it is best to consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Lindsay, if you are in such a situation.