Pubdate: Thu, 05 May 2016
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Orillia Packet and Times
Author: Mehreen Shahid
Page: 6


Orillia OPP commander surprised at how many people think pot is already legal

Marijuana legalization might be coming at some point, but in the 
meantime, pot is still illegal. It seems some people are jumping the gun.

Insp. Pat Morris, Orillia OPP commander, said he is surprised at how 
many people assume a proposed change in marijuana laws has already 
come into effect.

"Some people perceive that marijuana is legal. It's not legal," he 
said. "Some people ( believe) that the police won't act on certain 
controlled substances, because they believe it may be legal at some 
point in the future."

More education and guidance are needed to put a dent in the number of 
drug-related incidents being reported in the city, according to Morris.

While presenting crime stats to the Orillia Police Services Board, he 
noted there was a 44.4% increase in drug-possession cases (in January 
and February). There were 13 during the first two months of this year 
as compared to nine reported in February 2015.

He believes the increase in drug cases is a result of OPP encouraging 
residents to report them.

According to the report submitted to the police board, six drug 
offences were reported in February, resulting in 12 people being 
charged - 11 adults and one youth.

Det.- Sgt. Rusty Watson, of the Orillia OPP street crime unit, said 
having that many drug busts in one month isn't unusual.

"From what I see, it's just normal," he said. "There's been warrants 
executed in close succession, and everything we do depends on 
information received. Sometimes there may be weeks and months between 
enforcement action being taken; sometimes days; sometimes ... hours."
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