Despite ample evidence that shows police forces across Canada aren’t absolutely sure they have everything in place before cannabis legalization next week, Bill Blair, minister of border security and organized crime reduction is convinced police forces across Canada will be ready for legalization of recreational marijuana because the federal government has provided funds, training and approval of drug-screening technology ahead of the big deadline.
The government has made available $161 million one year ago for police training in how to detect the presence of drugs in drivers. In August, it also approved the use of roadside drug screening equipment to identify those driving while high.
In the last 18 months, there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of police officers trained as drug recognition experts in Canada, he said. In addition, 880 police officers in Canada trained to recognize drug-impaired drivers.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, however, has said there should be 2,000 trained to tackle impaired driving.
Blair said police forces have access to the new Dräger DrugTest 5000, which tests saliva for cocaine and THC, the main psychoactive agent in cannabis.
If officers use the equipment to detect the presence of a drug, they can suspend a driver’s licence, remove the driver from the road and tow his or her car away. He said that ability has a deterrent effect.
Canada’s new Cannabis Act will come into effect on October 17. -CINEWS