Pubdate: Fri, 17 Nov 2017
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Claire Theobald
Page: A3


Alberta's police chiefs are feeling "overwhelmed" figuring out how to
adjust policing practices ahead of marijuana legalization, Edmonton
police Chief Rod Knecht said.

"The timelines are extremely tight," Knecht said outside an Edmonton
Police Commission meeting at city hall on Thursday.

In an open letter, the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police warned
the scheduled July 1, 2018, legalization leaves "insufficient time for
the full consideration necessary in the creation of the regulatory
framework to ensure the safety of Albertans."

Chief among their concerns is a lack of approved roadside testing for
drug impairment.

"We don't have a test available to measure impaired driving (and) I
think that's going to cause serious consequences," said Knecht,
warning any ambiguity will encourage more people to plead not guilty,
putting more pressure on Alberta's overburdened courts.

The illegal marijuana trade has been big business for organized crime,
with the Alberta Association

of Chiefs of Police estimating $6 billion in profits

The police chiefs would like the government to create regulations that
would prevent organized crime from infiltrating private pot retailers.

"It's not going to go away," Knecht said.

"Organized crime is very adept at getting around law and capitalizing
on circumstances. There are some holes in the process right now where
organized crime can get in."

One of those holes is online sales, where Knecht said there is little
being done to ensure the person buying the product is the same person
the product is being delivered to, opening the door for underage use.

"You can order anything online right now," Knecht said.

The government of Alberta has proposed regulating public consumption
of marijuana much like cigarette smoking is now, but Knecht said the
chiefs are concerned with the effects of secondhand smoke and
encouraging youth users, and would rather see public marijuana
consumption mirror liquor laws.
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