Canada Update: Off-Duty VC Cops Can Consume and Ottawa Won't Limit Pot Shops

US police officers don’t tend to like cannabis legalization or tolerate consumers. Things are different in Canada.
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With few exceptions, police officers in the United States don’t tend to be very open about cannabis legalization.

In Canada, however, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is not imposing time restrictions on its officers. In other words, cops can consume weed while off duty, once it becomes legal on Oct. 17, 2018, according to the Vancouver Sun.

The only policy the VPD will enforce is that all officers must be fit for duty when they report to work.

“Prior to commencing work, employees, contractors, and volunteers shall abstain from using alcohol, medication, or controlled drugs in a manner that could render them unfit to perform their duties safely and efficiently,” according to the wording of the policy, which was approved at a Sept. 26 VPD meeting.

The VPD’s director of planning, research, and audit section, Drazen Manojlovic, said the department is not recommending a specific time period for pot abstinence before the start of duty.

He explained that this is “due to the lack of a clear time frame as to when cannabis would clear someone’s system and no longer render them impaired.”

“The length of impairment for an individual can vary and there is no medical consensus on how long impairment lasts,” Manojlovic wrote. “Specifying a time-frame can create an implicit approval that this period of abstinence is all that’s required to ensure fitness for duty.

Meanwhile, officials in Canada's capital city, Ottawa, have said they will not limit the number of retail licenses issued to businesses intending to sell cannabis in the province, as long as applicants obtain proper approvals from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the provincial regulator authorized to grant store licenses. Officials also indicated that licensed producers could have only one retail location at a production facility.

The decision, according to the Ottawa Citizen, is part of new legislation revealed by the Ontario government detailing the province’s plans for incorporating private cannabis retail into the existing public framework.

Although the number of licenses overall will not be capped, a single licensed producer will only be allowed to hold a single retail license at one production site, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said. “This is an opportunity for small business to get involved so we want to allow for as many participants across Ontario.”

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