Regina’s Police Chief Talks ‘Hidden’ Costs of Marijuana Legalization

Article by Stephanie Taylor, CBC News

Regina's police chief talks 'hidden' costs of marijuana legalization 'We know alcohol can cause problems in domestic relationships; marijuana is no different,' says Evan Bray. Regina Police Service chief Evan Bray says the legalization of pot will add to the force's workload without taking anything off their plate. (CBC)

The planned legalization of marijuana next year is concerning to the Regina Police Service, its chief says.

Possession of recreational pot will become legal in Canada — in small quantities — on July 1, 2018.

That would presumably mean fewer people will be charged with possession offences.

But Chief Evan Bray says more widespread use of marijuana may actually mean more work for the police.

“We are worried that it’s going to have a negative effect on the community,” Bray said Thursday.

“We’re prepared to work hard to see that it doesn’t, but it is going to be work and it is going to take resources.”

He said the worry is based on the rates of alcohol abuse in the city and the access minors have to booze — a substance that’s been legal for a long time.

Impact on mental health, addictions, organized crime

For Bray, it’s not a question of if the legalization of pot will be costly for the police service, but just how much, both in terms of money and workload.

He said there will be costs associated with enforcement, and legalization will also bring with it a number of potential “hidden” costs in the form of social issues that would fall to frontline officers to handle.

“It’s easy to talk about driving while impaired by the use of marijuana, but what about what the use of marijuana does in a domestic relationship?” Bray said.

“We know alcohol can cause problems in domestic relationships; marijuana is no different.”

The impact weed legalization will have on the prevalence of mental health issues, gambling and addictions are also concerns for Bray.

Read full article here.

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