Pot-related policing, border enforcement to get $274M from Ottawa

Funds to also develop policy, bolster research, raise awareness of dangers of drug-impaired driving

The Trudeau government has earmarked just over $274 million to support policing and border efforts associated with the plan to legalize recreational marijuana use.

The government said Friday it is committing $161 million of the money to train frontline officers in how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug-impaired driving, provide access to drug screening devices and educate the public.

Some of these funds will help develop policy, bolster research and raise awareness about the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

Of the $161 million, provinces and territories would be able to access up to $81 million over the next five years. Public Safety Canada is working with provincial counterparts on gauging policing needs to determine how the federal funding will be distributed.

The government is devoting $113.5 million over five years to Public Safety, the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to ensure organized crime does not infiltrate the legalized system and keep pot from crossing borders.

READ MORE: Legalizing pot won’t help at U.S. border: immigration lawyer

“I am confident that together we will make our roads and communities safer,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement.

The Liberals are moving to legalize recreational marijuana use by next July, saying it will help keep the drug out of the hands of young people while denying profits to criminal organizations.

The money announced Friday will not start to flow until legislation to usher in the regime for legal marijuana receives royal assent.

“This a welcome and overdue first step from the government,” said Ian Jack, a spokesman for the Canadian Automobile Association.

READ MORE: Marijuana dispensaries operate in legal limbo

“It’s far too early to tell if this will be enough money, in particular for public education — which to us at the CAA is one of the keys on this file.”

Many young people think they are as good or better drivers while high as when not, Jack said.

“That’s simply not true, and these are the kinds of myths that we need to disabuse people of before marijuana becomes legally available.”

Under proposed legislation, police would be able to demand a saliva sample from a driver if they reasonably suspected the person had drugs in their body.

Should the saliva test lead police to believe an offence has been committed, they could order an examination by an evaluating officer or the taking of a blood sample.

Portable screening devices can detect the recent presence of several drugs, including THC — the active ingredient in cannabis — cocaine, methamphetamines, opioids, benzodiazepines and amphetamines.

Finance Canada will consult shortly on a proposed new taxation regime for marijuana, the government said Friday.

The RCMP said as recently as December that it’s too early to know how pot legalization will affect organized criminal involvement in the illicit marijuana market.

Government officials are collecting data — everything from the street price of pot to how often people light up — to arm themselves in the fight against organized crime’s presence in the trade.

By Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Downtown Chilliwack homeless shelter gets a reprieve

Extension to August is geared to getting people into supportive housing this summer

Three different Chilliwack pubs hit by banking machine thieves

RCMP investigating thefts of ABMs during late night, early morning break-ins

B.C. Wildfire crews respond to Sts’ailes, Morris Valley fires

A fire at the First Nation and a grass fire in Abbotsford sent smoke across the valley Wednesday

Top Canadian curlers clash at 2019 Everest senior men’s and women’s championships

It’s the first big event at the just-opened Chilliwack Curling Club, and features an exciting field.

Chilliwack mayor takes taxi transfer topic to Vancouver

Meeting with the mayor, health minister and Fraser Health CEO confirmed that taxi transfers happen

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Assault charge against Curtis Sagmoen dropped

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

Trans woman hopes funding cut will send message to B.C. rape crisis group

Rape Relief does not turn transgender women away and often connects them to other services, group says

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

Bob Marley said it best: The sun is shining and the weather is sweet

UPDATE: Two avalanches confirmed at Okanagan ski resort, one in hospital

A man has been sent to hospital after an isothermal avalanche at SilverStar March 20

5 to start your day

Chilliwack mayor sits down with health minister, phone scam tricks seniors out of $3.1 million and more

Okanagan man, Yorkshire terrier chased by coyote

Animal sightings have been reported around West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan

Most Read