Profiles by Cannabiz Social Podcast - Kyla Lee


In this week’s episode of “Profiles by Cannabiz Social”, we hear from Kyla Lee, Criminal Lawyer, Acumen Law Corporation in Vancouver. Kyla primarily practices in the area of impaired driving DUI defence. Kyla grew up on the Island, moved to Vancouver for her undergraduate at University of British Columbia (UBC), and never left.

Kyla’s mom jokes she was meant to be a lawyer, said the self-confessed workaholic who enjoys litigating, arguing and debating things, and is NOT a fan of Suits.

“My own experiences as a teenager allowed me to have insight and sympathy into my client’s circumstances. With cannabis, it’s a new area of argument for me and it’s something I like.”

Being a criminal lawyer was something she naturally fell into. “I was always interested in criminal law. It’s exciting and you deal and work with really complex characters. People are not just someone who have been alleged to commit a crime – they have backstories, reasons why they did what they did, defenses are really interesting with lots facts – you get the highest level of entertainment.”

A lot of the work she does has been shifting into where people who are alleged to be impaired by marijuana, because as she notes, it’s a fascinating industry and area because of evolving laws.

“People and listeners should be afraid. C-46 is the worst part about the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada."

Since the announcement of legalization, there’s been a panic effect with the government and police about how to enforce impaired driving in relation to cannabis. People have been combining cannabis use and driving for ages.

There’s new legislation coming in right around legalization that’s going to expand the ability of police to use tests such as the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, and make it more certain about what can be done with the outcomes of those tests in court and what the court can use.

That’s Bill C-46.

“People and listeners should be afraid. C-46 is the worst part about the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada. It is going to make it easier for police to rely on the results of their drug recognition evaluations, and for police to get blood samples from people,” Kyla said.

With C-46, provisions are being added for police to take a saliva sample to determine if you have certain concentration of drugs in your system. The federal government just approved a device for testing driver’s saliva for cannabis. Read about it here

What’s interesting about C-46 is they’re making breath testing random. What constitutes a reasonable suspicion somebody has drugs/cannabis in their body? Those things are unclear in our law. While we know what reasonable suspicion means, we don’t know what it looks like. With alcohol, there are clear tells, such as how our breath smells. With cannabis, your eyes may be red, but is that enough? Are we just tired? Have any allergies flared up?

Kyla was asked if the possession of cannabis counts as reasonable grounds and suspicion?

“No. Unless you have a joint with a burnt tip or they smell burnt cannabis. If you have possession, it doesn’t mean you were smoking. To take the leap from possessing cannabis to having it in our body is not enough.”

Her advice? Do not admit using cannabis to the police if you’re asked. Just say nothing. If you’re asked and you say yes, it’ll cause problems and they can investigate. If you say no and it turns out you did, your no can, in certain circumstances, be used against you. You do not have to provide information to police about your use of cannabis. If they ask, just say “I am not going to answer any questions about this” or nothing at all.

If you are asked to provide a sample, saliva or a test, you are legally obligated to comply with that demand. If you refuse, the consequences are the same as if you were convicted no benefit to refuse the test. You do yourself a disservice by refusing to provide a sample.