Police Chiefs Say Canada Is Not Ready For Pot-Impaired Drivers

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is warning that there are not enough trained officers to assess the expected spike in pot-impaired driving when marijuana becomes legal in Canada this October. According to a Canadian Press report, the association does not believe it can possibly achieve its objective of seeing 2,000 police officers trained to detect drivers under the influence of cannabis — a drug that is not detected in the bloodstream but in the fatty tissues.

It is not the first time that Canadian police have alerted the Trudeau government to the potential shortfall in detection capability.

Association spokeswoman Natalie Wright told the Canadian Press that there are only 733 police officers across Canada who are qualified to assess marijuana impairment. She says there is little chance that another 1,300 personnel can be run through training before the legalization date of Oct. 17 but believes the current training is the best available.

“While it is unlikely that we will attain our target number of 2,000 Drug Recognition Experts by October 17th, we are confident in our present processes, knowing that they will continually improve with time as we build capacity,” Wright said in a written statement.

All Canadian police officers go to the International Drug Evaluation and Classification course that his held in Los Angeles. The course first opened in the 1970s and continues to be the source of all marijuana assessment training. While seeking qualification, attendees learn how marijuana impairs a user’s ability to reason, coordinate body movements and see.

The Trudeau government hopes its “Don’t Drive High” campaign will convince pot users to abstain from driving after consuming cannabis. In other jurisdictions, such as Colorado, that have legalized pot use, impaired driving has increased dramatically.

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