Pubdate: Thu, 14 Sep 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Liz Monteiro
Page: B2


Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin says police are gearing up
for the July 1 deadline when pot will be legal in Canada but he says
there is "trepidation and worry" about the upcoming law.

Larkin, who is president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of
Police, said any new legislation and public policy brings "a lot of
trepidation" and "a lot of worry."

Police are preparing for the July 1 deadline. However, Larkin agrees
with other police services and associations who say the date is arbitrary.

He is concerned that police have yet to see legislation regarding
roadside testing and whether there are amendments to the legislation
regarding drug impaired driving.

"This isn't about the legislation, it's about the details, the
rollout," he said.

Also, training of front-line officers can take up to six months,
Larkin said.

This week, leaders of police services and associations from across the
country took their views to a House of Commons health committee in

They said they want more time to enforce the new law and feel there is
no chance they will be ready by next summer.

Last year, local police stopped 51 drivers for driving while impaired
by drugs. In the first six months of this year, the number hit 36.

Larkin said he hopes to have 50 officers trained in recognizing drug
impairment by next July. The service began training officers in drug
impairment in 2012.

To date, local police have 10 drug recognition evaluation officers and
two more will be trained by early 2018.

Larkin said police are also concerned that the legislation will allow
individuals to grow up to four marijuana plants.

"We are opposed to this. It is fraught with challenges," he

It brings a whole host of problems such as enforcing the four-plant
rule, inspection, searching of homes, health hazards, fire hazards and
bylaw issues, he said.

"How do you monitor this?" he said. "Is that the best use of police

In 63 per cent of the drug-impaired cases in the region in 2016 and
2017, officers found marijuana mixed with other drugs,

The other drugs included stimulants such as cocaine and
methamphetamine, as well as heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone.
Prescription medications, including antidepressants, were also found.

But most impairment charges involve alcohol. Last year, police laid
550 impaired driving charges and only about 30 of them were related
solely to drugs.
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