Pubdate: Fri, 16 Dec 2016
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network
Author: Bill Kaufmann
Page: A3


It's not yet known whether new laws will create more work, Chaffin

It's not clear recommendations on legalizing cannabis will reduce his
force's work or even curb organized crime, Calgary police chief Roger
Chaffin said Thursday.

While Chaffin said the federal task force did a comprehensive job in
crafting 80 recommendations for ending 93 years of marijuana
prohibition, numerous uncertainties remain, including what role police
would play.

"There's still many unanswered elements yet to be determined, such as
how much is to be mandated to which levels of government," he said.

On the overall prospect of pot legalization that's expected to be
tabled in Parliament next spring, Chaffin said that trend and its
medical marijuana cousin has already led police to reduce their work
in closing down grow operations.

But he said new complexities arising from legalization could mean
little relief for police that would enable them to focus on other
policing areas.

"A lot of that grow-op work has gone away, but we haven't seen it
create a massive human resource efficiency," said Chaffin.

"It will still be an issue beyond the regulated legal amount ... it
may create new work."

And he said hopes that legalization will snuff out organized crime's
role in the marijuana trade aren't a sure bet, either.

"We have to see how that works, whether the black market has a role or
doesn't," he said.

After two years of legalization in Colorado, pot-related arrests there
have fallen, but drug cartels have moved into the state to grow
cannabis that's then exported.

Chaffin said there are more technical-legal questions that will also
need to be addressed.

What will be the permissible THC-blood level for driving isn't yet
known, nor how a recommended four-plant per home grow limit would be
enforced, he said.

The same goes for a 30-gram legal cannabis possession limit favoured
by the task force, said Chaffin.

"What's the difference between 30 or 35 grams, and is it a bylaw or
police issue?" he said. "I'd rather they do it right than fast."

Drug law enforcement culture shock has been reduced by the lengthy
discussion on legalization, said Howard Burns, president of the
Calgary Police Association.

But he said a total adjustment will take some time.

"We've been trained to hunt down marijuana, and we've spent an
incredible amount of resources trying to eliminate things that will be
sold in legal outlets," said Burns.

He said the prospect of cannabis legalization brings some relief for
police, who've already turned more of their focus onto battling deadly
drugs like fentanyl.

But he insisted the campaign against pot hasn't been a

"I would certainly say the war was never won, but perhaps it prevented
some people from being exposed to it," he said.

A recommendation to allow home-grows of four plants, said Burns,
doesn't seem compatible with Ottawa's intention of protecting youth
from the drug.

"It might be counter-intuitive ... allowing people to grow it probably
isn't going to be helpful," he said.
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