While a new federal law legalizing marijuana is likely to make money for the government, it could end up costing money for Regina police.
The Trudeau government introduced legislation Thursday, with the intent to have it implemented July 1, 2018.
But legitimate questions still remain for Regina Police Chief Evan Bray.
He said right now there’s no approved device out there to help catch drivers who are high. Bray said right now there’s nothing that is authorized and recognized under the Criminal Code that can be used in court for proof.
Without a device such as that, he said the other option police have is to increase the ability of training expert officers. The catch is that requires specialized training that’s not currently available in Regina, or Canada according to Bray.
“That training right now requires us to send officers, believe it or not, deep into the United States to receive that training. So one of the calls to action that we’ve had for the federal government simply is, bring this training to Canada,” said the chief.
Not only will local officers have to be brought up to speed, but Bray said thousands of other frontline officers across the country will need that training as well.
“It’s going to be a capacity issue for the training and the police colleges and for us as services it’s going to come down to a budget issue. How do we get these officers trained?” he questioned.
Money is tight on the municipal level in Saskatchewan as cities and towns work to address a funding shortfall after the provincial budget. The City of Regina is recommending $1 million less for Regina police this year.
Bray said he hopes the city doesn’t see an increase in impairment out on the roads. However, he added they have to be realistic, saying the availability for people to get behind the wheel after using marijuana is likely going to increase, at least the probability will, so they have to be prepared to handle that.