Edmonton police officers not allowed to use recreational cannabis

Click to play video: 'How Edmonton police are preparing for marijuana legalization'
How Edmonton police are preparing for marijuana legalization
With a hard date now in place for marijuana legalization, there are questions about how police will deal with people who get high and drive. Vinesh Pratap takes a look at what tools they have now, and the questions they're still asking. (Aired June 2018) – Jun 21, 2018

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.

READ MORE: Toronto police to ban officers from consuming cannabis within 28 days of reporting for duty

“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.

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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.”

READ MORE: Mounties will be barred from smoking pot almost a month prior to any shift

Earlier this week, Global News confirmed members of the RCMP will not be allowed to consume cannabis within 28 days of a shift.

READ MORE: Edmonton police still undecided on marijuana roadside testing equipment

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Department of National Defence establishes recreational cannabis policy

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

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