Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 10, 2018
Minister confident police in Canada ready for cannabis legalization next week
Police forces across Canada should be ready for legalization of recreational marijuana next week because the federal government has provided funds, training and approval of drug-screening technology ahead of the big deadline, says a federal cabinet minister.
Bill Blair, minister of border security and organized crime reduction, says the government provided up to $161 million one year ago for police training in how to detect the presence of drugs in drivers. In August, it also approved the use of roadside drug screening equipment to identify those driving while high.
“For the first time ever, the police have been given the training, the tools and the technology to actually detect and deter,” he told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning Tuesday.
In the last 18 months, there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of police officers trained as drug recognition experts in Canada, he said. There are now more than 880 police officers in Canada trained to recognize drug-impaired drivers.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, however, has said there should be 2,000 trained to fulfil the government’s push to crack down on drug-impaired drivers.
Blair said police forces have access to the new Dräger DrugTest 5000, which tests saliva for cocaine and THC, the main psychoactive agent in cannabis. The device, which includes an “analyzer” and cassettes, received approval from the federal Department of Justice.
“People are already and have been for years driving under the influence of drugs and police have never had the ability to detect it,” he said. (Source: CBC News)