Business As Usual For Local Police As Recreational Pot Becomes Legal…Or Has It?

Amendments to Smoke Free Ontario Act Passed 16 Hours After Legalization

From a national standpoint use of recreational cannabis has become legal – under certain conditions.

Provincially, there was still an issue in Ontario, until late this afternoon.

Related post – Legal Weed Wednesday: What You Need To Know

An amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, that will allow pot-use in public, was passed about 16 hours after marijuana became legal in Canada. As such, smoking pot remained illegal in Ontario, except in your own home (and for medicinal purposes), until the amendment was voted on late in the afternoon.

Even carrying a gram or two on the street – unless you have a medical licence – was illegal, according to Barrie Police Constable Sarah Bamford, “Technically, if you have cannabis on you today you have illegally possessed that cannabis…anybody that’s put an order through this online cannabis store, as of midnight, they won’t be receiving that (legal cannabis) for one to four days.”

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The only difference that we’re seeing today is that you can go online and legally buy cannabis[/perfectpullquote]

As for enforcement in terms of impaired driving, Traffic Unit Officer Chris Allport says nothing has changed. In RIDE, or other spot checks, screening for alcohol or drug impairment continues as usual, starting with tell-tale signs, “redness of the eyes, possibly dilated pupils, you could have some debris around your mouth, eyelid tremors, body tremors…things you can’t control.” Any suspicion can lead to a field sobriety test to determine a level of impairment.

Common sense is key, says Bamford, “The only difference that we’re seeing today is that you can go online and legally buy cannabis. When we talk about driving and being impaired behind the wheel, that’s business as usual for us. The RIDE programs that we did last week opposed to the RIDE programs we do this week…we’re still out looking for impaired drivers.”

banner image: Cannabis Culture via Flickr