It is only a few more days before Canada launches its recreational cannabis market on October 17 and police officers are asking if they, too, can smoke pot and get high.
That is a legitimate question, isn’t it, considering that these officers will be the one helping local governments enforce their cannabis regulations?
The Guardian reports that the provinces of Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, and Regina will allow police officers to use pot recreationally as long as they are fit for service. According to the report, most cities still have to finalize their local policy on the issue of allowing police officers to use recreational marijuana, but these four have already come out in favor of consumption.
Meanwhile, Calgary has adopted a zero-consumption rule for the police. It is the first city to introduce such policy.
Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said that they don’t tell their employees that they can’t drink alcohol in their own time and when they are away from work. His statement suggests that cannabis should be treated in the same manner.
In Vancouver, police officers are requested to self-evaluate their mental fitness for duty.
As for local jurisdictions that are still drafting their policies, they are making an appeal to “common sense” guidelines.
According to Supt. David Haye of the Saskatoon police, the police department is just like any other workplace, where you just can’t come to work if you are impaired by alcohol or by drug, even if the drug in question is prescription medicine.
An internal memo from the Calgary police, on the other hand, states that officers qualified to use firearms, as well as able to be operationally deployed, are prohibited from using cannabis for recreational purposes whether they are on or off duty. The union representing Calgary police officers intend to fight this rule following complaints from officers.
Police in Canada’s largest city, Toronto, is still to publicly announce a cannabis policy, but it has already dealt with high-profile police officers getting high.