The Calgary Police Service wants more information and more funding for drug impairment recognition training for front-line officers before marijuana becomes legal in Canada.
At a meeting of the Calgary police commission this week, CPS outlined the steps the service is taking following the announcement this week that the Liberal government will introduce legislation to legalize pot by July 1, 2018.
Sgt. Richard Butler, who heads the force’s alcohol and drug recognition unit, warned the legalization of the drug in other jurisdictions has been accompanied by a rise in collision rates and costs associated with policing drug-impaired drivers.
“We certainly expect that with the pending legalization of marijuana that those calls for (drug recognition) service are definitely going to increase. We’ve seen that increase in every state south of the border we’ve looked at where they’ve had a legalization of recreational marijuana,” Butler told commissioners Tuesday.
“We also expect the collision rates to go up. The same way it did when we cancelled prohibition, when we legalize marijuana in Canada, we’re expecting those costs to go up.”
Part of the challenge, according to CPS, is that federal funding initially put into place for Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training in 2008 has gradually dwindled, and now individual law-enforcement agencies must shoulder the cost of training officers, including the costs associated with annual recertification.