Toronto police largely banned from using marijuana at home
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2018 11:59AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 9, 2018 5:42PM EDT
Toronto police officers will be prohibited from using marijuana within 28 days of reporting for active duty, largely prohibiting them from using the substance during their personal time once it becomes legal next week.
Senior Toronto police officers announced the policy in a video circulated to officers on Oct. 5.
Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said the 28 day prohibition was developed after the service conducted its own research and consulted police lobby groups such as the Ontario and Canadian associations of chiefs of police.
“We’ve learned the impact cannabis can have on your body, within 28 days you can still feel the effects of use, whether it be your cognitive abilities or on decision making or motor skills,” Gray told CP24.
She said that some officers are entitled to five to seven weeks of vacation annually, so it is possible that some of them will still be able to use cannabis once it becomes legal without violating the policy.
“Theoretically we do have members who have upwards of five, six or seven weeks of annual leave that they could take together if they wanted to partake in recreational cannabis use. It does happen, I won’t say that it is common.”
Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said he was aware a policy was coming, but not of its specific details.
“The TPA has not seen this policy nor have we had the opportunity to review its content,” McCormack said in a statement. “We are aware the draft policy may contain a 28 day waiting period before a member can report for duty after consuming cannabis.”
He said the union will review whether the policy complies with the collective agreement and other relevant legislation.
“Once the TPA receives an official version of the policy dealing with this topic we will perform a legal analysis of its content for compliance with our collective agreements, legislation, human rights, case law, etc. and make a decision about any further action we may take at that point in time.”
Gray said the service is open to reducing the threshold in the future if research suggests it is too long.
“Certainly as information becomes available and research becomes more available to us we will consider reevaluating that procedure.”
She raised the possibility that the service’s own “drug recognition evaluators” could be used to ensure police officers are respecting the policy.
Recreational use of marijuana will become legal for those 19 and over in Canada on Oct. 17.
In Ontario, individuals will be allowed to have up to 30 grams of the substance on their person in public and as many as four plants in their home.