With the legalization of marijuana just a couple of months away, Canada’s aviation industry is looking for guidance on how to deal with what pilots, technicians and air traffic controllers might be doing on their days off. Showing up for work high will definitely be against the rules but the Canadian government has so far not come up with rules governing the intervals between weed use and taking a cockpit seat. “We’ve received no official guidance whatsoever. No regulations, no proposed regulations. We’ve received nothing so far,” John McKenna, president and CEO of the Air Transport Association of Canada told CTV News.
Current regulations forbid pilots from flying within eight hours of drinking alcohol but most airlines and the military require a 12-hour period of abstinence. But most experts agree that the psychoactive ingredients in pot are metabolized differently and at different rates from person to person and the so-called safe interval is less clear. “We just want prescriptive regulations. What’s acceptable? What’s not acceptable, for the crews, the flight attendants, the maintenance people,” said McKenna. A spokesman for Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the department is working on new rules and in the meantime it will remain illegal to be high at work for pilots. Air Canada and WestJet are also working on internal policies that are likely to be more stringent than anything Ottawa comes up with.