Driver fined after Altona police find cannabis during traffic stop

Police in Altona, Man., issued a warning and fine to a driver after he was found with cannabis in his vehicle less than an hour after it became legal in Canada on Wednesday.

Police fined the driver for unlawfully transporting cannabis less than an hour after possession was legalized

Police in Altona, Man., stopped a driver on Wednesday morning and say they found he had six grams of cannabis. (CBC)

A driver in Altona, Man., was fined after he was found with cannabis in his vehicle less than an hour after recreational pot use became legal in Canada, according to police in the southern Manitoba town.

In a Facebook post, the police service said officers in the town, about 90 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, found six grams of pot in the 18-year-old driver's pants pocket following a traffic stop around 12:35 a.m. on Wednesday.

While it became legal, as of Wednesday, to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in Canada, there are still restrictions on transporting it in a vehicle. Provincial rules require it to be stored in a secure compartment, like the vehicle's trunk, so that it's inaccessible to people in the vehicle.

Police charged the driver with unlawful transportation of cannabis and also issued warnings to him and his 18-year-old passenger about being underage, as the legal age to consume cannabis in Manitoba is 19.

Police said although there was an officer trained to do field sobriety tests at the stop, no further testing was done.

"Further in this traffic stop, there is no doubt that this was unregulated black-market cannabis," police said.

"The only cannabis you can legally purchase must be from a provincially regulated dispensary or online, again through the authorized sites only."

There are currently only seven retail shops in Manitoba authorized to sell cannabis — six in Winnipeg and one in Dauphin.

Police said the driver was fined just over $200, but officers could have laid many more charges.

"Police want to use situations like this as an education tool. When you are of legal age … treat cannabis as you would liquor in your vehicle," police said in the Facebook post.

"You can't consume liquor in a vehicle and you can't consume cannabis in a vehicle."