Pubdate: Mon, 26 Feb 2018
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Lee Berthiaume
Page: NP4


OTTAWA * The military is currently wrestling with the implications of
marijuana legalization, Canada's top general says - including time
restrictions on using the drug before going on duty.

"We're going to try to be smart about it," chief of defence staff Gen.
Jonathan Vance said on Monday. "But in the end, this is dangerous
duty, this is serious duty for the country, and we don't want people
doing it stoned."

Vance's comments came during an appearance before the Senate defence
committee, where he was largely grilled on the troubled military
procurement system, peacekeeping and efforts to stamp out sexual
misconduct in the Forces.

But with the clock ticking down toward legalization in the summer or
early fall, the question of how the military plans to address
marijuana use by service members was particularly topical.

"We are looking at it," Vance told the committee. "I am very soon to
make decisions on the specific and unique circumstances associated
with military service that would preclude someone from using cannabis
at a particular point in time."

The general played down suggestions of a complete ban or prohibition
on marijuana use by military personnel or even certain occupations
such as pilots, adding that he plans to take a common-sense approach
that "follows the law of the land."

But the Canadian Forces' surgeon general is looking at different
initiatives to better understand the drug's effects, including how
long they last, Vance said, to ensure the military has the necessary
information to make the right regulations.

"I think we're going to have some way of assuring ourselves, based on
the best science available, what other industries are doing," he told
the committee. "So if it's illegal to fly a plane in Canada having
used cannabis within a certain period of time, it's probably going to
be illegal in the Armed Forces as well. Just for the air safety. I
don't have the answers yet, but those are the kinds of things we're
looking at."

The issue of how to monitor and regulate marijuana use isn't unique to
the military, as police, commercial airlines and other groups are
facing the same questions.

The Trudeau government had hoped that a legal cannabis regime would be
ready by July, but it looks like Canadians will have to wait until
August or September to be able to buy legal weed.
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