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Vancouver officers free to smoke pot, so long as they arrive ‘fit for duty,’ police board says

News Posted Sep 27 2018

Canada's new recreational cannabis program is set to begin in a matter of weeks from now and with federal legalization must come new policies from government entities and companies around the nation. The Vancouver Police Department has issued a statement to it's officers that they will be allowed to use cannabis in their free time off the job as long as they arive to their shift fit for duty. There was discussion of a 24-hour pre-shift abstinence period however the police board advised against that as it will not be simply regulated for the way cannabis reacts differently with different people. Instead they will treat it like alcohol, don't use before or during the shift. Drug tests will also remain within the same policy and testing will only be administered when an employee is suspected of being impaired. While the VPD has chosen to trust their officer's judgement and allow the federally legal use of cannabis off the clock not all Canadian police departments have taken the same route.

VPD officers will, however, be prohibited from consuming cannabis “prior to the start their shift,” as is the case with alcohol. They will be allowed to possess controlled drugs while working or on break, so long as the substance is stored for the purposes of transportation in its original, sealed and unopened package.

The VPD’s approach is less prohibitive than other police departments in Western Canada. The Calgary Police Service, for instance, has implemented a wholesale ban on recreational cannabis use by its officers, even while off-duty.

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