Calgary police can’t partake when marijuana becomes legal

WATCH: CityNews reporter Michael Lumsden reports on why Calgary police officers won’t be able to consume marijuana products

A new abstinence directive has come down from the Calgary police executive, banning the use of marijuana for anyone on or off-duty who is a member of the rank and file.

According to the policy, ‘sworn members who are qualified to use firearms and are able to be operationally deployed are prohibited from using recreational cannabis.’

Calgary Police Association President Les Kaminski said the service is entering into the wild west of policing right now where there is no legal precedent.

“It’s interesting because when you talk about alcohol, it’s different,” Kaminski explained. “The reason alcohol is different is because it’s measurable. So if a police officer decides he is going to have a drink on a Friday night and has too many drinks, no one questions that because when he comes back to work on Wednesday for his night shift there is no alcohol left in his system.”

READ MORE: A brief look at provincial approaches to recreational marijuana sales

Kaminski said the problem with marijuana is the technology doesn’t exist yet because THC stays in your system for a long time, even though it’s no longer active.

“The only measure is, is it there or is it not there?”

He added that the if there had been THC in an officer’s system, that member was breaching policy.

“Now what we’re saying is if the police officer decides that he wants use pot on the Friday, is he fit for duty when he comes back to work on the Wednesday, almost a week later, it boils down as far as the association goes as fitness for duty.”

He was confident the policy will look a lot different in a year’s time after the court rulings and grievances are filed.

The Calgary Police Association admitted that it’s a hard stance and were hoping for something more progressive like Vancouver’s, but understood why they decided to follow suit with the Canadian Association Chiefs of Police.

READ MORE: Canadian rental company bans marijuana in its buildings

Kaminski said the military has also taken a progressive stance; no marijuana consumption 24 hours before handling a firearm and if you’re in a theatre of war no consumption period until you’re out of that theatre.

“I think it’s going to rely a lot on the technology that’s developed along the way here,” he said. “I think that’s going to be one of the keys and also it’s going to be no different than case law in criminal matters, once there is case law and there is precedent,” he said.

“We’re in the wild west. There is no precedent, there are no rules right now, there is nothing to fall back on, this is the first crack at it.”

He believed that there were some holes in the policy and was confident it would morph into something much different as time progresses.

LISTEN: Calgary Police Association President shares his views on the “abstinence directive” with 660’s Ian Campbell.

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