According to police, Justin Trudeau’s government needs to remind Canadians that cannabis remains an illegal drug to ebb the spread of dispensaries opening across the country.
“The discussion [surrounding legalization] that is occurring is causing a lot of confusion, even from an enforcement perspective,” said Canadian Police Association president Tom Stamatakis. “On the street, you have citizens who are convinced or have allowed themselves to be convinced that marijuana is now legal and it’s okay to not only use it, but to manufacture and sell it.”
Stamatakis said, based on private discussions with the Prime Minister, that when legalized cannabis will be heavily regulated.
“We will end up with a similar legislation and regulatory framework to what we have for alcohol and tobacco, which, from a law-enforcement perspective, is the direction we should go in,” Stamatakis said.
Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill agreed that the Liberals need to reveal some of their plans and speak out against the cannabis community, as it exists today.
“I think it would certainly help if the government would come forth and advise people that the legislation isn’t in place yet and that the laws will be enforced until it is,” said Weighill.
The Liberals’ legalization czar Bill Blair said the process won’t be rushed, and the government is taking its time to get everything right.
“Until Parliament has enacted new legislation and new rules are in place to ensure that marijuana is carefully regulated, current laws remain in force and should be obeyed,” said Blair.
Weighill said an important outstanding issue remains developing procedue for enforcing cannabis impaired driving when legalization is in place.
“We would be looking for legislation around impaired driving for marijuana, possibly a recognized instrument to measure the levels of THC, like we can with alcohol,” Mr. Weighill said.