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

Wetaskiwin liquor store robbed Feb. 21

Two suspects arrested after store employee threatened with bear spray

Vehicle and oversize load collide near South Cooking Lake turnoff

Strathcona County RCMP respond to serious injury collision on Hwy#14

Questionable reffing is becoming the NHL norm

Perhaps mandatory eye tests would help boost officials’ capabilities

Wetaskiwin Friendship Center gains momentum

Wetaskiwin city council reinforces its support behind Friendship Center

Just stop the political correctness stupidity

Seriously, stop ‘peoplekind,’ leave the anthem alone

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates one year out from 2019 Canada Games

Community gathers at Great Chief Park to commemorate Games milestone

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community now faces six murder charges

Bruce McArthur now charged with murders of six men: Toronto police

Trump suggests more guns in schools to combat shootings

Trump floats two-step plan for gun control: More guns, more control

Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian Bobsled Federation states a drug-test sample that pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva gave on Sunday was positive.

Indigenous leaders call for change after ‘system fails’ Tina Fontaine

‘All of us should be ashamed’: Calls for change after jury finds Raymond Cormier not guilty

Atwal fiasco dogs Trudeau; PM pledges a ‘conversation’ with MP responsible

Trudeau is being peppered with questions about the lingering controversy

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Most Read