“There should have been a referendum”.
That’s the view of community services constable Nelson Amaral to legislation legalizing marijuana.
Speaking to the Rotary Club of Sarnia Bluewaterland, Amaral and media officer John Sottosanti of the Sarnia Police Service suggested if legalization had been put to a vote the outcome may have been different.
Marijuana use is legal across Canada later this month and police services across the country are grappling with the implications.
“In a lot of ways when it comes to legislation police forces are still in the dark,” says Amaral who suggests there will be a “learning curve” but is hopeful use of marijuana legislation will mirror liquor laws.
The minimum age in Ontario will be 19 and users will not be allowed to smoke a joint on City streets or in a public park.
Sottosanti says the age of 19 is being used because teenage brains are still developing but even with that he suggests there will be an increase in psychotic behavior.
Enforcement will be similar to RIDE Programs with saliva testing devices but Amaral says getting a reliable device is still in the development stage with legalized marijuana roll out just week’s away.
Sottosanti says police will be looking for “actual signs of impairment” at road stops. Amaral predicts there will be more vehicle accidents. And while both officers predict there will eventually be dispensaries on line sales of marijuana and related devices will begin immediately.
Kids at schools are already vaping THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) a derivative of cannabis says Amaral. “It is already a problem and we are still awaiting legalization”.
There is a drug subculture in Sarnia that is leading to break ins and robberies and both officers predict legalization of marijuana will only aggravate what is already a significant community problem.