When marijuana officially becomes legal on Oct. 17, Saskatchewan police officers will be allowed to light up a joint while off-duty.
Calgary police recently announced all officers will be banned from using cannabis, even while off-duty.
Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police (SACP), explained the professional organization for the province’s police has decided to take a “fit-for-duty” approach to legal pot. This would the same policy as is currently used for alcohol.
“We’ve had it in the Saskatchewan Police Act for decades – members have to show up not being impaired by alcohol or a drug. And not just cannabis, any drug and that includes a prescription drug,” Pritchard said in an interview with 980 CJME.
As a legal substance come Oct. 17, Pritchard said officers will be allowed to partake if they choose to do so on their days off.
“How do you ban a legal substance? I mean it would be no different than saying OK alcohol – we’re going to ban alcohol,” Pritchard commented, when asked why Saskatchewan wouldn’t be following Calgary’s lead and banning cannabis altogether for officers.
He noted the conversation about banning marijuana is around the issue of not knowing its lasting effects, but he pointed out police officers do know when a person is impaired by a drug.
Once weed is legalized, he said having a joint could be comparable to having a beer.
Pritchard said there has been a lot of work done by various police forces at different committee levels over the last two years.
So far, Pritchard said there seems to be good support around the fit-for-duty approach to legalized marijuana, although he noted that could change due to media attention around the policy.
The police chiefs association made the final decision on the policy Friday.