Pubdate: Wed, 22 Nov 2017
Source: Delta Optimist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Neil Dubord


Having worked as a police officer for many years, I have to admit, it
requires a shift in thinking to look at marijuana as a legal substance.

Countless policing hours were dedicated to keeping it out of our
homes, schools and communities, but the future will be different.

Since the federal government announcement earlier this year, the law
enforcement community began work to determine what public safety
issues might arise with the availability of legal marijuana. Much of
the public discourse was simple: legalize it, regulate it, tax it and
use the revenues for everything, from health care to education
spending. Unfortunately, it is not that simple from a public safety
perspective, and the Delta police, along with our policing partners
have done a great deal of work to identify and address key issues.

Consideration has to be given to storefront locations and proximity to
youth, to a pricing scheme that cuts out the illegal market, to
training police on the new Cannabis Act and related amendments to
existing laws, and to how the police will enforce issues like public
consumption and personal cultivation. Each of these issues comes with
many layers of detail that need to be addressed, and this will come at
a cost to police departments and municipalities both financially and
in lost productivity.

Without a doubt the single most pressing public safety issue is that
of drug-impaired driving.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has found that
among drivers who tested positive for drugs following a fatal crash,
almost 70 per cent of those under the age of 19 tested positive for
marijuana. In addition, a large proportion of youth don't see driving
under the influence of marijuana as a problem.

Washington and Colorado have both experienced an increase in fatal
crashes where a driver tested positive for marijuana, and that
statistic is not declining. With legal marijuana available for
purchase by young adults, we must take this information very seriously.

Over the coming months, police leaders will continue to work with the
provincial government on training standards for drug impaired driving
enforcement, enhancing legislation and developing education strategies
to ensure safety on B.C. roads is not impacted by a legal marijuana

Here in Delta, police officers will continue to make impaired driving
enforcement a top priority, regardless of whether it is by drugs or
alcohol. The most prevalent policing issue for businesses and
residents in Delta is traffic and road safety, and we have made huge
gains over the years with alcohol impaired driving. We don't want to
go backwards.
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