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News & Policy News Grow

Police can use pot between shifts once it's legalized but must be 'fit for duty'

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Eric Zimmer Sep 21, 2018 12:58 pm 10,139

With the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada now less than a month away, police departments across the country are in the process of adding cannabis to their official policies surrounding alcohol and drug use by off-duty officers.

And while each police agency will have its own specific HR policy, Vancouver Police spokesperson Const. Jason Doucette told Daily Hive that VPD officers will receive online training through the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN).

It’s much the same story for RCMP officers across the country as well.

“The RCMP is finalizing its policy surrounding the use of cannabis by its employees,” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Tania Vaughan. “This policy will be established to maintain public safety and a safe workplace.”

Once finalized, she said, the policy will provide direction to employees and their supervisors surrounding work standards on the non-medicinal use of cannabis.

Vaughan told Daily Hive that all RCMP officers must be “fit for duty when reporting for work, which includes not being impaired by alcohol or any other type of drug.”

She added that the RCMP will continue to review the scientific research and legislation as it evolves and will update the policy as required.

Doucette said training around the VPD’s impairment at the workplace policy will also contain information on the latest research on the use of cannabis.

“We want to provide our officers with the latest information so they can make an informed decision when it comes to cannabis use and being fit for duty,” he said.

However, no specific time period between when an off-duty officer can use cannabis in relation to the start of their next shift is attached to the policy.

“We don’t have a specific time limit on alcohol or prescription drug use and we will not be implementing one for cannabis,” said Doucette. “Our officers will be provided with information surrounding cannabis use and potency etc., and it will be their responsibility to ensure they show up fit for duty.”

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