Canada Marijuana Legalization: Police Services Ask Feds To Postpone July 2018 Start Date
OTTAWA Canada’s police services say there is zero chance they will be ready to enforce new laws for legalized pot by next summer.Officials from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Ontario Provincial Police and the Saskatoon Police Service are among dozens of witnesses testifying to the House of Commons health committee this week as it studies the government’s bill to legalize marijuana. They said Tuesday they need more time to properly train officers about the new laws and more than double the number of police officers who are certified to conduct roadside drug impaired driving testing. There also needs to be more time for public education, the police said. If the government doesn’t postpone the start date there will be a window of six months to a year when police aren’t fully ready, which will allow organized crime to flourish, said OPP deputy commissioner for investigations and organized crime Rick Barnum. The police also want Ottawa to reconsider allowing individuals to grow up to four of their own marijuana plants because it will be difficult and expensive to enforce and provide an additional way for young people to get access to pot. “Why do you need home grows when we’re going to have a good system to access marijuana legally?” asked Barnum. Barnum said the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police officially wrote to the government this week to request a delay in implementation. The Liberals have pledged pot will be legal in Canada by the summer of 2018.While legalization of recreational pot will lighten their workload there were 16,000 charges laid for simple possession in 2016 police said it brings a whole host of other problems, including an expected rise in complaints about neighbours owning pot plants, suspected grow- ops, and robberies and home invasions.Why do you need home grows when we’re going to have a good system to access marijuana legally? The police request for a delay comes after Canada’s premiers warned the federal government in June that they may not be ready with provincial laws and regulations to accompany the federal bill by next summer. Thus far the government has not changed course.While Ottawa’s bill sets 18 as the minimum age for using legal marijuana, provinces can choose to make that age higher if they want. They also have to determine how and where legal pot will be sold.