Vancouver police finalizing cannabis policy for officers

(Tony Hisgett/Flickr)

With recreational marijuana legalization one month away, the Vancouver Police Department is finalizing its cannabis policy surrounding pot use for officers.

VPD says it will “basically be adding cannabis use to the policies surrounding alcohol and prescription drug use.”

While each police agency will have its own HR policy relating to cannabis use, VPD says it will group marijuana use in with alcohol and prescription drugs.

“Our members are required to appear for work fit for duty,” VPD said in a statement, meaning officers can’t show up to work high. “Training around the VPD’s Impairment at the workplace policy will contain information on the latest research on the use of cannabis. We want to provide our officers with the latest information so they can make an informed decision when it comes to cannabis use and being fit for duty.”

See also: Cannabis training now available online for police officers

Meantime, all officers in the country will receive online training on the incoming federal cannabis legislation.

“This initiative is one more step to prepare us for the new cannabis legislation. When police agencies can work together on standardized training, we all win. Ultimately, our goal is to give all police officers the training they need to keep Canadians safe,” says RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki.

The goal is to “inform and educate police officers in Canada on how to consistently apply the new laws surrounding cannabis.”

The program is a partnership between the RCMP, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN).

“The CACP is proud to support this proactive initiative and would like to thank the RCMP and the CPKN for leading the development of this online training product,” said CACP President Chief Mario Harel.

“With such a significant legislative change coming in October, it was important for the Canadian law enforcement community to come together, share resources for a common goal which will benefit communities from coast to coast to coast,” he added.

The online course, called Introduction to Cannabis Legislation, is now available at no cost to all Canadian police services in Canada on the CPKN portal.

Upon completion of the course, it’s said police officers will be able to:

  • Identify cannabis in its various forms and relate it to legal quantities
  • Differentiate between the medical and non-medical cannabis regimes
  • Recognize criminal offences under the Cannabis Act
  • Articulate the elements and powers of arrest for each offence under the Cannabis Act
  • Identify hazards as they relate to environments involving cannabis
  • Understand how the new Act will impact policing in Indigenous communities on reserve
  • Make appropriate linkages to other training related to drug-impaired driving
  • Apply strategies to assist with critical thinking through unknown or new situations.

“This initiative could become a best practice for future legislative changes impacting policing in Canada,” said CPKN President Sandy Sweet. “Through this partnership, we were able to achieve a mass distribution of online training at a very low cost, using existing resources and infrastructure.”

The Cannabis Act will legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis and will come into force on Oct. 17, 2018.

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