Police still in dark as marijuana legalization approaches

Intended for the week of March 22.

Recreational marijuana legalization across Canada rolls out July 2018 but RCMP still grapple with how to deal with the drivers impaired by drugs.
Stettler RCMP Sgt. Phil Penny told Stettler town council, during its regular meeting March 20, there are still unknowns surrounding how officers will deal with drivers impaired by marijuana.
“We’re trying to be as prepared as we can to deal with the potential.”
Alberta unveiled its framework for retail marijuana sale and both provincial and federal governments are tightening rules around impaired driving.
The federal government will bring in a roadside saliva test to check for drug impairment and, over the next five years, will provide $81 million in funding to the provinces and territories to assist police with checking and testing for drivers impaired by drugs.
Sgt. Penny said it’s uncertain if police will have to purchase the devices.
“I’m playing the waiting game.”
The New Criminal Code rules will require drivers to have less than five nanograms of THC in their bloodstream. THC is the cannabis compound that gives the user a high.
Provinces are in charge of overseeing the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana.
In Alberta you will have to be 18 or older to buy or use cannabis. There’s no limit on how much you can possess in your home but public possession has a limit of 30 grams.
Sales will be in specialty stores and separate from alcohol, tobacco and pharamceuticals. Smoking and vaping in public fall under the existing tobacco laws.
You can grow a maximum of four plants in your home but can’t grow any outdoors.
Locations where you can smoke or vape will fall under existing municipal smoking laws.

2018/19 Stettler RCMP priorities
Sgt. Penny updated council on its 2018/19 initiatives, which include the quality of investigations and violence in relationships.
The 2017/18 initiatives were: Intelligence led policing (using confidential informants and judicial authorizations such as search warrants to deal with crime); crime reduction through the use of the Habitual Offender Management Program to identify prolific offenders and get them help they need; and more police visibility and community relations.

Lisa Joy
ECA Review

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