MOOSE JAW — Cannabis might be legal and cannabis edibles might be tasty, but consuming them and then driving will only land you in court, as one woman from the Village of Briercrest discovered.
Morgan Faith Maier appeared by phone in Moose Jaw provincial court on Jan. 5 to speak to her charges of driving impaired, refusing to provide a urine sample to police and failing to come to court. She offered to plead guilty to the second and third charges if the Crown dropped the first charge.
In response, Crown prosecutor Rob Parker said he would be satisfied if she pleaded guilty to impaired driving by drug since that was a less grave matter and would show she acknowledged her guilt.
“I expect the consequences for her would be less serious if she entered the plea to the impaired by drug than to the refusal,” he said. “If she had counsel, her counsel would probably be asking her to take the plea to the other charge.”
Judge Daryl Rayner asked Maier, 19, if she wanted to switch her guilty plea.
“Um, OK, yeah, I guess so,” she said, before saying that she wasn’t impaired at the time and would never drive under the influence while she had taken the cannabis edibles the day before.
This prompted the judge to say he couldn’t accept Maier’s plea since she argued that she wasn’t guilty. Rayner suggested she plead not guilty to the three charges and he would set a case management conference meeting for mid-January. This would see Maier, a judge and a Crown prosecutor attempt to reach an agreement.
After further indecisiveness — “Ms. Maier, I’m not going to negotiate with you in open court,” Judge Rayner said at one point — Maier agreed to plead guilty to impaired driving by drug and failing to come to court.
Maier’s charges occurred around 5 a.m. on April 24, 2021, after police conducted a vehicle check stop near a gas station on Athabasca Street East, Parker said while reading the facts.
Officers found Maier behind the wheel, and while questioning her, noticed that she had difficulty producing her driver’s licence and registration, was slurring her words, had problems keeping her eyes open and had glassy eyes, he continued.
Maier told police she had not consumed alcohol but had eaten cannabis edibles. Officers made her take a sobriety test, which included walking a straight line and standing on one leg; she failed the tests. Police then gave her a drug test, which she also failed. They asked her to provide a urine sample, but she refused.
Parker recommended that Maier be fined $1,000 for impaired driving by drug and $100 for failing to come to court in May. As per Criminal Code regulations, she will lose her licence for one year and be prohibited from driving.
The Crown dropped the charge of refusing to provide a urine sample to police.
Judge Rayner accepted the recommendation and gave her until June 30 to pay. He also waived the victim surcharge of $330.