A new policy prohibiting Toronto cops from using marijuana within 28 days of reporting for active duty is “ill-contrived, arbitrary” and largely unenforceable, according to the city’s biggest police union.
In a statement distributed to its nearly 8,000 members on Thursday afternoon, the Toronto Police Association (TPA) slammed a new policy on the use of marijuana that was crafted ahead of the legalization of the drug on Oct. 17.
The policy was announced to members in an internal video last week. Toronto Police Service Spokesperson Meaghan Gray previously said that the 28-day waiting period was introduced, in part, due to research suggesting that the effects of cannabis use can linger for weeks after the drug is consumed.
In its statement, the TPA said it does “not support this draft policy.”
“The police service’s logic would suggest that the 28-day waiting period apply to other occupations including all first responders, emergency and medical staff, and anyone driving any type of motor vehicle or operating heavy machinery. It also does not address the issue around exposure to second hand cannabis smoke,” TPA President Mike McCormack said in the statement.
The statement from the TPA noted there is “no correlation” between cannabis use and impairment for such a long period of time.
The statement added that union leadership will be meeting with TPS brass to further “review the content of the draft policy” and express their opposition to the 28-day threshold.
“The health, wellness, and safety of our members is a priority for the association. If any of our members choose to use cannabis once it's legalized, like any other legal substances that all Canadians can legally consume, the same fit for duty criteria should apply,” the statement said. “Police officers, civilians, and special constables are aware of their obligations in the workplace, and our expectation is that our members will continue to be professional when reporting for duty.”
The Toronto police policy is among the strictest ones adopted by police forces in the country, ahead of legalization, though police departments in Calgary and Edmonton have said that they will prohibit officers from using the drug altogether.
Meanwhile police departments in other cities, including Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver, have said that it will be up to individuals members to determine whether they are fit for duty.