Pubdate: Wed, 28 Oct 2015
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Orillia Packet and Times
Author: Andrew Philips
Page: A1


Provincial police forces are waiting to see what effect legalizing
marijuana might have on enforcement guidelines.

Responding to questions related to the federal Liberal government's
pledge to legalize cannabis, Insp. Pat Morris, Orillia OPP commander,
said there are already challenges that exist for police in relation to
medical marijuana grow operations.

"There are a lot of grey areas; it's not black and white," Morris said
following an Orillia Police Services Board meeting Tuesday at city

As an example, he said, people living in the area might have Health
Canada approval to grow 300 plants for medicinal use but are found in
possession of a greater quantity and tell police they are growing for
another approved medicinal marijuana certificate holder.

"There are many growers in this area registered with the federal
Ministry of Health," he said, noting since marijuana remains a
controlled substance, police will continue to enforce laws pertaining
to it for those without Health Canada approval.

That said, Morris noted legalizing pot would mean a shift of police
resources to other areas, but it might also mean officers make more
impaired-driving arrests related to the drug.

"If marijuana were to be legalized, it will change our workload and
training requirements," he said.

During the police board meeting, Morris provided his monthly report
outlining police calls for service.

As of Aug. 31, local police had received reports of 99 fraud-related
crimes in 2015 compared to 82 over the same time period last year.

Morris said fraud numbers remain a particularly troubling statistic,
especially as they relate to seniors who might fall prey to aggressive
door-to-door salespeople or phone scams, including the "Canada Revenue
Agency" calls that are now making the rounds and are not actually from
the federal agency.

As an example, Morris said, two area residents wired $11,000 to con
artists earlier this summer after receiving bogus phone calls telling
them of a finance issue.

Morris said the force is committed to educating seniors and will
continue speaking with seniors' groups while also spearheading a
print-media campaign to alert them to potential dangers.

Other fraud calls have involved patrons "dining and dashing" from
local restaurants, fake Kijiji ticket sales and apartment rentals
along with one involving placing a monitoring device on a furnace by a
"repairman" that makes a knocking noise and is thereby designed to
elicit a return call, Morris said.

As well, Morris highlighted the seven break-and-enters reported in
August, bringing the year-to-date total to 54 - up one from 2014.

He said the seven instances two months ago are particularly difficult
to solve since they relate to sheds, garages and trailers, with some
time passing before the incidents are noticed.

As well, he noted, 50 incidents of theft under $5,000 reported in
August (434 year-to-date) relate mainly to shoplifting with 12 reports
of items taken from vehicles and nine thefts of bicycles.

Morris said police hope to begin an anti-theft campaign early next
year that would see Sgt. Steve Cartwright lead a team of Georgian
College community safety students and auxiliary OPP members on a
door-to-door campaign throughout the city.

"We're going to do this to try to educate people and remind them to
lock their doors," he said.
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