saw this in the Toronto Star – thought it interesting…
Whether you view cannabis legalization in Canada as the arrival of Cheech & Chong Heaven, Reefer Madness Hell or something in between, the police want to make a few things clear.
One: if you think legalization means it is perfectly fine to stroll down Yonge St., brazenly blazing a joint as you bask in newfound freedom on Oct. 17, think again.
Such audacious public consumption is likely to end the way it would for anyone trying the same stunt today with a bottle of scotch. No criminal record but a hefty fine, up to $1,000 for recreational cannabis use in public, under the incoming federal law. Try it a second time and that penalty could leap to $5,000.
Two: if you are a teetotaller who is likely to be totally teed off by a perfectly legal cloud of cannabis smoke, should it drift into your yard or onto your balcony from a private residence a month from now and your first impulse is to call police, also think again. Police across Canada are braced for a spike in such “nuisance calls” and forewarn that such concerns are a matter for bylaw enforcement, not law enforcement.
Three: whoever you are, don’t even think about smoking and driving. Police forces throughout Ontario and beyond are undergoing enhanced training and will soon deploy a range of new tools, including the first federally approved yet still controversial saliva-testing device for THC, to target stoned drivers. Roadside testing, you may soon find out, is about to get much more complicated.
If it all seems somewhat hazy, that’s because it is: after nearly a century of being trained to see marijuana as the enemy, law enforcement is navigating the same cultural curve as the rest of Canada — and until all the bylaws are written and ensuing court challenges play out, they are struggling to define what the new normal will ultimately be.