Following the words of Canada’s head of police chiefs, officers in Regina believe possession charges for small amounts of marijuana could drop as federal legislation to make pot legal gets closer.
One week ago, the president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and Saskatoon Chief Clive Weighill said he suspected there would likely be fewer minor possession charges across the country as we get closer to spring of 2017, the time at which the Liberal government has planned to introduce law to legalize marijuana use.
Regina police were asked if that could be the case in the Queen City.
“I’m guessing it likely would happen here as well but again we lay the charges based on the evidence that we have. When it goes to court the judge would make a decision,” explained Deputy Chief Dean Rae.
“I guess it’s hard to predict. It may be the result,” added Chief Troy Hagen, who is retiring in June.
Hagen said they’ll stay the course and Rae agreed, saying officers in the city will enforce the laws that are in place right now and will continue to do so until they change. The chief said the federal government expects the laws currently in place to be adhered to, and it’s not like the law has been repealed, he explained.
Given that, Hagen added police exercise a good deal of discretion while handling these sorts of cases now.
“In every case where there’s a small amount of marijuana present, is someone charged? No. It’s never been that way,” he revealed. “There are a number of instances, and has been for a long time, where in some cases minor possession has not warranted a charge.”
Ultimately, he said police are the ones who the lay the charge but it’s up to the courts to decide whether somebody has a criminal record.