Article by Laura Osman, CBC News
Ottawa police still have no clear idea what the legalization of cannabis will cost, what kind of equipment they will need or even what kind of training will be available when Canada green lights the drug this summer.
Initial estimates peg the cost at $6.2 million for the first year of legalization, but that number is based on very little information, the police services board heard Monday.
“I cannot highlight enough that we do not know the true costs of cannabis legalization,” Deputy Chief Jill Skinner told the board.
Until the provincial and federal governments decide on some key details there are too many unknowns to find out what it will cost municipal taxpayers when people are allowed to buy and grow marijuana legally, she said.
For example, police may have to build a greenhouse and keep confiscated plants alive until an accused has made their way through the court system in case they are found not guilty. The other option would be to sell the plants or let them die and then pay the accused person for their value if they’re acquitted.
Impaired driving biggest concern
Even more basic questions about how officers will be able to tell if people are driving high are still unanswered. The advanced training officers need to identify drug users is only available to two officers a year at a course given in Florida.
“They are testing live subjects and in Ontario we do not test live subjects,” Skinner explained.