Pubdate: Mon, 05 Mar 2018
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jane Stevenson
Page: 2


Pot still considered taboo during workdays

The late, great George Carlin apparently once joked that the 1960s-era
crackdown on the business man's "three-martini lunch" shouldn't affect
the working stiff's "two-joint coffee break."

But will the latter be frowned upon in the workplace if pot becomes
legal - as expected - in Canada later this year?

There is stigma that still exists," says leading Canadian cannabis
activist Jodie Emery.

"Now it depends though, of course, where you work. In a modern city
like Toronto or Vancouver, you could probably have more progressive
attitudes towards that in workplaces but definitely in smaller towns
and more conservative jurisdictions, you would have push back."

Added Toronto employment lawyer Howard Levitt: "Drinking is socially 
acceptable even to those who are teetotallers ... as long as it's not to 

"But there's certainly a stigma by many people against people who get
stoned or smoke marijuana because it's somewhat associated with
criminality because it has been illegal. And our historic reference
was 'stoners' and people that are less than entirely socially

Levitt also stressed that court rulings ensure employees who smoke pot
will not be subject to random drug testing.

"Random drug testing can never occur unless there's a demonstrated
need - there's got to be safety sensitive positions," said Levitt. "So
there will not be random drug testing. It's illegal in Canada based on
privacy and violation of the human rights code."

Another piece of good news, for pot smokers, at least, is that as
younger generations move into positions of power, they'll likely be
more open about using weed.

"There's the hipster, modern, local artisan movement in business and
we've had a lot of attention from younger entrepreneurs coming up with
new ideas, disruptors and innovators, so that goes right hand in hand
with cannabis," said Emery.

"In fact, for many companies, they want to be hip and say, 'Yeah, of
course we're on board with it.'" Levitt, for his part, isn't so
convinced. "I don't know that in any short order, in any event, that
there's going to be real acceptance by the broad public of marijuana
use," he insisted.

"It has a view of slightly unsavoury - perhaps that's the best way to
put it - that drinking doesn't have. It always has been. So is our
social attitude suddenly going to change because (Prime Minister)
Justin Trudeau has said it's legal? I don't think so."

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Safety the main concern

Cops target 3 areas as legalization nears

Three major concerns police have about legal weed:

Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin, who is the president of
the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, lays out three big concerns:


Larkin says police don't have an approved breathalyzer-type device to
catch stoned drivers on the road. Police rely on a saliva roadside
test for the presence of cannabis which then has to be followed up
with a blood test at a medical clinic or hospital. "We believe for the
start of the legislation, let's sort of have an abstinence. You can't
use cannabis and drive. Our position is driving is a privilege, it's
not a right."


"Canada has one of the highest usage rates of cannabis use among young
people, the ages of 12-24," says Larkin. "Quite frankly, what is the
prevention plan? Getting away from the enforcement model, let's
actually look upstream. How do we stop or how do we encourage young
people not to experiment or use drugs?" Right now, Larkin foresees
cops hitting underage pot smokers with a ticket (fines are in the $165
range for underage drinkers) but he prefers "a diversion model for
young people where they would be educated on the health impacts of
using cannabis."


"A guesstimate is we're looking at about a 2% impact on our budgets
across the province so it's pretty significant. But ... the federal
government has extended potential monies across the province."
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