Police commission passes policy on pot use for officers

The Weyburn Police Commission approved a policy that police officers cannot use marijuana 24 hours before going on duty, which is a similar policy adopted by the Canadian Armed Forces.

City council was advised of the policy at Monday night’s meeting, which was voted on at the commission meeting held before the legalization date of Oct. 17, which took effect across Canada to allow recreational marijuana use.

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“There are a lot of issues and different thoughts about it,” said Mayor Marcel Roy, a former police officer who chairs the commission.

He noted the military have two standards, of no marijuana use eight hours prior to a member doing paperwork, and no use 24 hours before an Armed Forces member handles weapons or drives a military vehicle.

This was in contrast to harsher standards by other police departments, he said, noting for example, the Calgary police department will not allow recreational marijuana use 28 days before an officer goes on duty.

The commission also approved a survey to be conducted of city residents about the Weyburn Police Service by a university group, at a cost to the city of $5,000.

“The public will be asked to fill out a survey as to how they feel the Weyburn Police Service is operating,” said Mayor Roy, noting the survey results will be part of the discussion for a new strategic plan for the police department.

“Police departments in Saskatchewan are very unique in that we have police boards which govern how they run,” said the mayor.

Council also heard in a report from Chief Marlo Pritchard that calls for service to the Weyburn Police Service have gone up by 637 or 15.1 per cent so far this year.

• City council appointed a new member to the youth council, as Lincoln Alexander was welcomed to the group, representing the interests of youth to city council.

Youth council mayor Landon Field told council the students had a meeting on Oct. 11, and discussed items such as the impact of the legalization of cannabis on youth, and a suggestion for an Instagram page that the Comp students could post photos to, in consultation with the media coordinator for the city, Paige Tenbult.

“We talked about activities and events that will be facilitated by the city and would be of interest to the youth of the city,” said Field, noting they would also like to connect up with other youth council groups across Canada, suggesting they might have a Skype meeting with youth councils elsewhere and talk about the issues that affect youth across Canada.