Even after it becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17, Edmonton police officers will not be allowed to smoke, consume — or use in any way — cannabis.
A spokeswoman for the Edmonton Police Service said the decision will be reviewed every six months.
“At this time, all sworn members (police officers) of the EPS are prohibited from using recreational cannabis,” Cheryl Voordenhout said Wednesday in an email to Global News.
She went on to say police are held to a different standard than civilians and may also be called for duty at any time if there’s an emergency.
“This decision takes into account the Occupational Health and Safety, Police Act and Collective Agreement obligations on the EPS and its members, the importance of public safety, the known impairing effects of cannabis use, and the current uncertainty with respect to duration and testing of impairment,” Voordenhout said.
Following the twice-yearly review, EPS may decide to amend the rule. Changes could be made in light of “any developments in the science or law regarding use, impairment or testing of cannabis.”
Earlier this week, Global News confirmed members of the RCMP will not be allowed to consume cannabis within 28 days of a shift.
The Department of National Defence introduced its policy on cannabis use in early September.
That set out rules that a member will be banned from consuming marijuana eight hours before they start work. They will also be banned from consuming any when deployed abroad or when on any vessel, vehicle and aircraft under the military’s authority.
The only members of the military to face a 28-day ban are those serving on submarines, crew members in military aircraft, and drone operators. Those dealing with loaded firearms or explosives, assigned to emergency response duty, or with the loading or maintenance of military aircraft, will face 24-hour bans.
Legalizing marijuana was a hallmark campaign pledge of the federal Liberal government.
As of next week, Canadians over the age of 18 or 19, depending on the province, will be allowed to purchase cannabis from public or private vendors, depending on the province where they live.
— With files from Global’s Amanda Connolly