Vancouver police will be able to smoke pot once marijuana becomes legal all across Canada in a few weeks – provided they do it off the clock and don’t show up for work high, The Star is reporting.
Canada recently passed historic legislation legalizing cannabis nationwide, and the law is set to go into effect on October 17. That means that Canada’s ten provinces and three territories have just a few more weeks to nail down how that legalization will shake out in their own jurisdictions.
And of course, employers all across Canada will have to decide if they want to continue drug-testing their employees and disciplining them for indulging when off the clock.
Well, if you work for the Vancouver Police Department, you’re in luck. Officers within that particular department will soon go from putting pot smokers in cuffs to being able to get high with them, if they want to. That’s because the Vancouver Police Board has decided to allow its officers to smoke pot off the clock, so long as they show up for work “fit for duty.”
If you know anything about the drug-testing industry, you may have noticed a problem with the previous sentence, and it’s a problem that bedevils employees, employers, and even courts here in the States. And it’s a problem that the Vancouver Police Board has noticed as well.
The problem is this: for now, the drug-testing industry hasn’t come up with a reliable way to determine whether or not you’re high –and thus, too impaired to work, drive, etc. When it comes to alcohol, a police officer — or your boss — can make you blow into a breathalyzer and then determine on the spot whether or not you’re drunk, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above, say.08. Not so with cannabis — all the drug-testing industry can do is tell whether or not you’ve used in past few weeks, information which is useless when determining whether or not you were too high to work or drive when the sample was taken.
To that end, Vancouver cops are just going to have to show up for work “fit for duty,” and their superiors are essentially going to have to take their word for it that they’re not baked.
Don’t conclude that all Canadian cops are going to have such freewheeling rules when it comes to lighting up. Over in Calgary, for example, cops will still be forbidden from getting high once pot becomes legal, no questions asked.