Effective Policing of the Cannabis Act
On April 14, 2017, the Government of Canada introduced two pieces of legislation related to the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in certain circumstances:
- Bill C-45 an Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (hereinafter the “Cannabis Act”); and
- Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (hereinafter the “Impaired Driving Amendments”.
The proposed Cannabis Act legalizes recreational cannabis in prescribed circumstances and provides for the licensing and oversight of the legal cannabis supply chain. Criminal prohibitions will remain for cannabis that is produced, trafficked or possessed outside of the regulated regime.
The proposed Impaired Driving Amendments create new offences for drug impaired driving and amends the laws concerning the impaired driving regime across multiple statutes.
Medical cannabis will continue to be governed by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. However, certain individuals who were previously authorized to possess and grow their own medical cannabis or grow medical cannabis for others under former regulatory schemes remain authorized to do so as the result of a Federal Court injunction order.
WHEREAS the Government of Canada has promised to legalize recreational cannabis in prescribed circumstances and create a new criminal and regulatory framework for recreational cannabis by July of 2018;
AND WHEREAS the Cannabis Act will authorize the Government of Canada to licence the production and distribution of recreational cannabis while recognizing the authority of the provinces and territories to regulate the sale of cannabis subject to minimum federal restrictions;
AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada has yet to introduce the regulations that will be necessary to establish and regulate the proposed licensing, production and distribution regime for recreational cannabis nor has the Government of Ontario introduced the regulations that will be necessary to regulate the sale of recreational cannabis in the province;
AND WHEREAS there will continue to be a number of criminal offences associated with cannabis;
AND WHEREAS the legalization of cannabis in prescribed circumstances will not eliminate the prevalence of organized crime in the production, distribution and sale of cannabis;
AND WHEREAS there are concerns that the Cannabis Act will result in increased cannabis consumption and a corresponding increase in demands on police resources for cannabis related enforcement and calls for service;
AND WHEREAS the provisions concerning cultivation of cannabis in private dwellings are vague and may impair the ability of the police to detect and enforce against illegal cannabis growing operations within dwellings;
AND WHEREAS the implementation of the Cannabis Act and the Impaired Driving Amendments will result in a significant increase in police training costs associated with cannabis enforcement, standard field sobriety testing and qualifying police officers as drug recognition experts for the purpose of impaired driving investigations and trials;
AND WHEREAS the implementation of the Impaired Driving Amendments will require police services to purchase expensive roadside drug testing equipment;
AND WHEREAS we have yet to see the introduction of or funding for a comprehensive public education strategy focused on the impact of recreational cannabis on youth, parents and vulnerable populations;
AND WHEREAS, in addition to increased policing demands, the Cannabis Act will result in increased demands for other municipal services such as public health, licensing, zoning and by-law enforcement;
AND WHEREAS, on June 14, 2017, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (hereinafter the “OACP”) passed a resolution calling for new funding to local police services for the enforcement of the Cannabis Act.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
- The Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board (the “Board”) endorse Resolution 2017-03 of the OACP (Appendix A).
- The Board calls on the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to establish new and sufficient funding to police services for the enforcement of the Cannabis Act and the Impaired Driving Amendments.
- The Board calls on the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to consult with police services and introduce the necessary regulations to the Cannabis Act well in advance of the July 2018 implementation date to allow police services sufficient time to prepare for the new recreational cannabis regime.
- The Board calls on the Government of Canada to ensure that the regulations concerning both medical and recreational cannabis are clear and consistent and that the police are given the necessary regulatory and enforcement tools to effectively combat illegal cannabis growing operations in dwellings.
- The Board calls on the Government of Ontario to prohibit or restrict the growing of cannabis in dwellings to the extent that its constitutional or delegated authority allows.
- The Board calls on the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario establish a comprehensive and properly funded public education strategy focused on the impact of recreational cannabis on youth, parents and vulnerable populations.
- The Board calls on the Government of Ontario to provide municipalities with the appropriate authority and sufficient funding to regulate and enforce zoning, siting and by-law enforcement related to cannabis production, distribution and retail sales facilities as well as the home cultivation of cannabis.
- The Board forward the Resolution to the Canadian Association of Police Governance, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Minister of Public Safety, Minister of Justice, Premier of Ontario, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Ontario Attorney General, local Members of Parliament, local Members of Provincial Parliament.
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