Toronto police banned from using marijuana within 28 days of reporting for duty
Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2018 12:54PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 9, 2018 8:57PM EDT
With marijuana legalization a week away, Toronto police officers are learning what rules they must abide by when it comes to recreational use.
The new “fitness for duty policy” prevents officers will be banned from using cannabis within 28 days of reporting for active duty.
Toronto Police Service spokesperson Meaghan Gray explained that the force conducted research for “the better part of a year” before coming up with the directive.
“We’ve learned the impact cannabis can have on your body. Within 28 days, you can still feel the effects of use, whether that be on your cognitive abilities or decision-making, or motor skills,” she noted.
A source told CP24 that the policy was announced last Friday in a video by Chief Mark Saunders, circulated privately to service members.
Canada will legalize cannabis for recreational use on Oct. 17, becoming the second country in the world to do so. The legislation allows those 19 and over to legally possess and use small amounts of recreational cannabis. In Ontario, adults will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams and as many as four plants in their homes.
The enforcement of the police policy will be up to the supervisors who examine officers on a daily basis.
“Like now, with the impairment standard, we would expect our supervisors to ensure all members that parade for duty are fit for duty. If they suspect that a member is impaired or intoxicated, either through alcohol or drugs, we would expect them to take the appropriate steps,” Gray said.
She also noted that any officer who is suspected of being impaired would undergo testing.
Members of the force who have use marijuana for medical reasons, will continue to be allowed certain accommodations.
Gray concedes that the new recreational marijuana policy could be revised in the future, if new research becomes available.
While he has not reviewed the specifics of the policy, Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said he knew its release was imminent.
In a statement, McCormack said his union will comb through the policy to ensure it complies with the collective agreement, legislation, and human rights, among other things.
When asked about the reports on Tuesday, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Michael Tibollo said the policy surrounding recreational pot use is up to the discretion of each individual police service.
“There must be logic and reason behind it. I don’t think anyone does anything arbitrarily when it comes to this,” he told CTV News Toronto.
“From my standpoint, if it’s the decision of the police service to use that period of time then we will respect that and abide by that. Depending on how things work out, I think there will be a lot of things that change over the course of time, as well as what we start to see as it rolls out.”
Last month, The Canadian Forces placed limits on when military personnel can use recreational pot once it is legalized.
As part of the rules, all military personnel are barred from using weed eight-hours before going on duty, and 24 hours before handling or using a weapon, performing training or operating machinery.
The period of time climbs to 28 days for those members who are stationed on a submarine or military plane.
It is prohibited for any member on international operations, exercises or training.
With files from the Canadian Press.