Ontario Police Shift Resources Away From Cannabis

Orillia police said they are already hesitant to enforce the Controlled Drug and Substances Act as it pertains to cannabis due to complicated legal concessions to growers and users and anticipate moving away from marijuana enforcement entirely.

“Certainly we would be shifting some resources – if it was legalized across the board – toward other areas of controlled substances,” said OPP Insp. Pat Morris.

Morris said the enforcement of growers in the province is complicated by growers holding multiple permits to produce.

“If I have a medicinal marijuana license for, say, 300 plants, but if I have 600 plants on my grow operation, then that would appear to be illegal cultivation of marijuana,” said Morris.

“The case law has determined that if someone else who has a medicinal marijuana license, and has the capacity to grow 300 plants, that they could be growing it there, on (another person’s) property,” Morris added.

Morris said police are hesitant to pursue many growers due to the likelihood of the charges being dropped by the courts.

“We realize that it may not go anywhere in a court of law because, although the person ostensibly only has the capacity to grow ‘X’ number of plants, they can grow a lot more plants because the excess plants could belong to somebody else with a different license,” he said.

Police are waiting for direction from the federal government on legalization, until then, they depend on case law to navigate enforcement of medical cannabis production.

“It makes it just problematic for us because the position of the courts is important to us so we know where to put our resources,” Morris added.