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

Just Posted

Canada ranks among countries most impacted by severe weather

Canada has climbed from the 42nd spot to ninth on the Climate Risk Index

Study shows Oak Bay’s dwindling population is rapidly aging

Housing Needs Study says Oak Bay facing a shortfall of 349 bedrooms

Cannabis cultivation: Former North Saanich chicken farm goes into pot

North Saanich would join a small, growing number of communities with marijuana growing

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

Beaches near Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour to receive first clean up in years

Peninsula Streams Society hopes to attract 50 volunteers for the Saturday event

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

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

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Most Read