Last week the Ontario Liberal government announced its ambitious plan to open 40 pot stores just as marijuana legalization kicks in across the province next July. Though the announcement was met with lots of excitement from the general public, the men and women responsible for ensuring the general public's safety were a little less high on its specifics.
After taking a few days to mull over that proposed timeline, representatives from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have come out and said that there is absolutely no chance they will be ready to enforce legalized pot laws by next summer, according to a report from the Canadian Press. The OPP, along with other police services from across the country, will be making their case in front of the House of Commons health committee for why it makes sense to slow down this rollout from a policing perspective.
There were a few specific factors cited as deterrents by the police. One was the fact that, under the new regulations, it will be legal to grow up to four pot plants at home. They said that this will make many aspects of pot control difficult to police, including attempts to keep it out of the hands of minors. Another major concern was the lack of time (and money) that will be available to train officers to recognize and handle drug-impaired drivers.
The time crunch was certainly not something that the Ontario government overlooked altogether. During the press conference where it made the announcement, Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi directly touched on that matter.
"In order to be ready for next July, our government will bring forward legislation this fall to ensure that even after legalization, cannabis remains a carefully controlled substance in Ontario," he said.
It just appears that there is a disconnect between the police and government when it comes to what constitutes actual readiness.