Head Of Toronto Police Union Wants 28-Day Cannabis Rule Changed

By Benjie Cooper

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The first two days of Canada’s cannabis legalization have yielded long lines, shortages, and a lot of people getting high legally. But not everyone in the country is allowed to partake so freely.

A new Toronto Police Service policy states that officers cannot use cannabis within 28 days of reporting for duty.

Mike McCormack, head of the Toronto Police Association wants Police Chief Mark Saunders to change the rule to require officers to complete a duty fitness test rather than subjecting officers to a 28-day ban.

“To say that you shouldn’t have marijuana in your system for 28 days—there’s no science that really supports that position and we don’t see the grounds for that position and it sets up a domino effect,” McCormack told CityNews. “Now we’re going to have officers who are exposed to second-hand smoke and it creates all these other issues. We think it should be a fit for duty test. Period.”

According to McCormack, Halton, York, and other jurisdictions within the province have already adopted the difficult test to gauge their officers’ fitness for duty. Ottawa and Vancouver officers are allowed to use cannabis with no restrictions as long as it does not affect their job performance.

“Marijuana is legal and there will be circumstances where we attend calls that we would normally attend but those people will be using marijuana,” said McCormack. “It’s a legal substance. I think the exposure rate will be a lot higher than it was in the past.”

McCormack says that it is a matter of practicality and plans to meet with Saunders to discuss the issue before making recommendations to union members.