On October 17, Chief Manak addressed members of the media regarding VicPD’s approach in the coming months to cannabis legalization specifically around impaired driving, cannabis storefronts and VicPD’s internal operational directive.
“For decades, police have been taking impaired drivers off the road. Whether the impairment is due to alcohol, prescription drugs, cannabis or a combination of these factors, police will continue to target impaired drivers to get them off of our roads as we always have. I can tell you that we take this responsibility very seriously,” said Chief Del Manak.
There have also been several questions regarding VicPD’s approach on on detecting impairment by cannabis. VicPD will not be using the “Draeger 5000” screening device, but rather rely on our current practice of deploying officers training in Standard Field Sobriety Testing and as Drug Recognition Experts.
As for existing cannabis storefronts in Victoria, VicPD does not plan to take direct enforcement action against these establishments, at least in the initial stages. The Province of BC has taken the lead on being the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis and the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch will license and regulate private non-medical cannabis stores. Under the new framework, the province has established a new enforcement branch called the “Community Safety Unit”. This Unit will be responsible for ensuring compliance and initiating enforcement action against illegal cannabis storefronts. If the provincial branch requires police assistance, it will be provided. It would expected that most storefronts will comply with the new regulations and licensing procedures so that it would not impact their ability to get a license to sell non-medical cannabis legally.
VicPD has also drafted an operational directive regarding the use of non-medical cannabis while off-duty. The directive will not allow employees to use cannabis within 24 hours of reporting for duty. If an employee is on-call, they will be prohibited from using cannabis.