VicPD Chief Del Manak says enforcement surrounding cannabis use won’t disappear with legalization (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

VicPD chief: Legalizing marijuana will require more police resources

Home growers, drug-impaired driving and youth access major concerns for Del Manak

Legalizing marijuana and “keeping it out of the hands of our youth” will mean more work for police, according to Victoria Police Chief Del Manak.

Manak, presenting the draft 2018 police budget to city council on Tuesday, said the upcoming legalization will increase the need for police training, the creation of education and enforcement strategies around impaired driving, the monitoring of home grow operations and dealing with minors who illegally use and possess the drug. Coun. Jeremy Loveday wanted further explanation from the chief, noting that possession will no longer be a crime.

RELATED: Victoria police seek budget boost due to spike in high-risk calls

“Organized crime has been involved in cannabis and trafficking for years, there are billions of dollars they are making. They will not walk away just because it’s legalized,” Manak responded. “They will try to find a black market, they will try to find a price point, they don’t have to pay taxes. There is always going to be a need for it.”

Questioning the need for additional enforcement around cannabis and youth, Loveday pointed out that police don’t have a dedicated alcohol unit to deal with underage drinking.

In preparation for legalization, Canadian police chiefs have been meeting with police leaders in Washington State and Colorado, where marijuana is legal. Police in those jurisdictions did not feel they had adequate funding and training, Manak said, adding that VicPD wants to be prepared. Managing drug-impaired driving, for one, is an ongoing issue for police, as reliable technology comparable to a breathalyzer for alcohol doesn’t exist to detect cannabis use.

RELATED: Victoria police seek funding for real-time intelligence unit

And while the laws around marijuana have yet to be decided, Manak hopes the federal government will consider banning home grow-ops. Regardless whether residents are allowed a certain number of plants – a scenario he strongly opposes – some people will inevitably grow more than that, which adds extra work for police to monitor, he said in an interview after the meeting.

“I support a model that has proper regulatory framework in place, and a retail model that allows entrepreneurs who are vetted and security checked to keep organized crime out of the industry, to have their retail operation and distribute it.”

And while Loveday agreed there needs to be education and a plan to deal with drug-impaired driving, he is not convinced cannabis-related enforcement requires a major increase to the police budget.

“It seems very counter-intuitive. This is a process to make a plant legal, as it should be, and to me that means we are moving it from the criminal justice system,” he said.

“We have higher priorities than going house to house trying to figure out how many plants people are growing … I don’t see how legalizing it will make more people start breaking laws regarding cannabis, because they will have legal access to it.”

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

City of VictoriaDel ManakVicPD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

RCMP cruiser damaged while responding to second of three Sidney crashes

Multiple crashes cause delays in both directions on Highway 17

Hotel workers gather in Victoria, demand right to return to work

Workers also asking the government to make sure employers don’t use pandemic to replace them

Victoria archery club says goodbye to outdoor range in View Royal

Province-owned View Royal property will house handyDART facility

MISSING: Victoria woman dubbed high-risk, last seen mid-June

Kristy Bolton is known to frequent the Rock Bay area

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UPDATE: Vancouver Island skydiving community mourns loss of one of its own

James Smith, 34, of Victoria, dies in Nanoose Bay incident

Elizabeth May endorses Furstenau in BC Greens race

Former federal party leader backs Cowichan Valley MLA

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Most Read