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.”
“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.”
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?”
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.
“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.”