HAC Communication

Minister Garneau Makes his Intentions Known with respect to the regulation of Cannabis in Aviation

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“Well, that was unexpected…,” has generally been the response to Minister of Transport Marc Garneau’s letter on the subject of cannabis use by Canadian flight crews, released late last week. A number of associations have responded with surprise that the minister is not acting more decisively to the legalization of cannabis on October 17, 2018. In essence, it appears that the minister does not intend to promulgate any new regulations with respect to limitations on use the use of cannabis by flight crews, post-October 17. The declaration fails to address the issue of random testing, or the lingering effect of THC stored in the fatty cells of habitual users – two issues that have been extensively discussed with the aviation community. The declaration seems to suggest that the existing regulations relating to impairment are enough, without recognizing that there will likely be a spike in the use of marijuana with legalization. Furthermore, it is well known in the aviation medical community that THC stored in fat can enter the bloodstream during periods of stress, weeks after the most recent use of cannabis – notably, during an emergency in flight, for example. Admittedly, this is a thorny issue, but the minister’s letter seems to place responsibility for avoiding flying while impaired – in the absence of a defined alcohol-like prohibition period – at the feet of the flight crew member, without so much as a promotional campaign to warn flight crew members about the lingering effects of cannabis use.

Read more HERE.

Steve Williams of Emond Harnden LLP will be delivering a presentation at our upcoming convention that will help guide operators as they develop a cannabis-use policy of their own in the wake of the minister’s letter.


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