Toronto police union boss says 28 day ban on pot ‘is simply not practical’

The union representing Toronto police officers says it does not support a 28-day marijuana smoking ban on it's members. Don Mitchell / Global News Radio 640 Toronto

The president of the union representing Toronto police officers says a draft policy put forward by management banning members from consuming marijuana within 28 days of reporting for duty is “fraught with all kinds of issues and legal challenges.”

Mike McCormack of the Toronto Police Association told Global News Radio 640 Toronto that the restriction really translates to “absolute prohibition” which he says “is simply not practical.”

“Because it’s going to be a legal substance, there’s no indication that impairment would last into 28 days. It seems to be an arbitrary number.”

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McCormack says he doesn’t see the policy as “tangible” and that officers already have rigorous rules about being fit for duty.

“Police officers take their job very responsibly, It’s not like it’s 1936 and we’ve got reefer madness and these guys are going to be smoking dope like beans.”

The draft of the new policy doesn’t address second-hand smoke McCormack says officers are likely to come in contact with during a shift when pot is legalized on Oct. 17.

“What happens when it’s a legal substance, people are smoking it, and I’m an officer are going up to investigate? If I get a second-hand smoke in my system, am I supposed to self-declare I have cannabis in my system, and go on a 28-day leave? Are the taxpayers going to pay for that?”

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

On Tuesday, Toronto police confirmed that a draft of a new policy, banning officers from consuming cannabis within 28 days of reporting for duty, was distributed to its members as the impending marijuana legalization date approaches.

McCormack admitted the action doesn’t breach the current collective agreement with the union, but does raise a number of potential legal challenges.

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“We’re hoping that discussions with the Chief (Mark Saunders) will change this draft policy to reflect the realities of what’s going on here.”

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