HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Feds Green-Light $274 Million For Policing Efforts
Pubdate: Sat, 09 Sep 2017
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Jim Bronskill
Page: A6


OTTAWA - The Trudeau government has earmarked just over $274 million
to support policing and border efforts associated with the plan to
legalize recreational marijuana use.

The government said Friday it is committing $161 million of the money
to train front-line officers in how to recognize the signs and
symptoms of drug-impaired driving, provide access to drug screening
devices and educate the public.

Some of these funds will help develop policy, bolster research and
raise awareness about the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

Of the $161 million, provinces and territories would be able to access
up to $81 million over the next five years. Public Safety Canada is
working with provincial counterparts on gauging policing needs to
determine how the federal funding will be distributed.

The government is devoting $113.5 million over five years to Public
Safety, the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to ensure
organized crime does not infiltrate the legalized system and keep pot
from crossing borders.

"I am confident that together we will make our roads and communities
safer," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement.

The money will help with needed training and creation of cannabis
enforcement teams, said deputy chief Mike Serr of the Abbotsford,
B.C., police.

"So this is, for us, very good news," said Serr, chair of the drug
advisory committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Serr said he still has questions about ongoing funding and whether
more money will be needed down the road.

The Liberals are moving to legalize recreational marijuana use by next
July, saying it will help keep the drug out of the hands of young
people while denying profits to criminal organizations.

The money announced Friday will not start to flow until legislation to
usher in the regime for legal marijuana receives royal assent.

"This is a welcome and overdue first step from the government," said
Ian Jack, a spokesman for the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

"It's far too early to tell if this will be enough money, in
particular for public education - which to us at the CAA is one of the
keys on this file."

Many young people think they are as good or better drivers while high
as when not, Jack said.

"That's simply not true, and these are the kinds of myths that we need
to disabuse people of before marijuana becomes legally available."

Under proposed legislation, police would be able to demand a saliva
sample from a driver if they reasonably suspected the person had drugs
in their body.

Should the saliva test lead police to believe an offence has been
committed, they could order an examination by an evaluating officer or
the taking of a blood sample. Portable screening devices can detect
the recent presence of several drugs, including THC - the active
ingredient in cannabis - cocaine, methamphetamines, opioids,
benzodiazepines and amphetamines.

Finance Canada will consult shortly on a proposed new taxation regime
for marijuana, the government said Friday.

The RCMP said as recently as December that it's too early to know how
pot legalization will affect organized criminal involvement in the
illicit marijuana market.

Government officials are collecting data to arm themselves in the
fight against organized crime's presence in the trade.
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