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

Province delivers notice of unauthorized occupation to Saanich tent city Camp Namegans

A Ministry of Transportation liaison to Camp Namegans delivered a “notice of… Continue reading

UPDATE: Woman hit by car in parking lot 93 years old

Driver of sedan backs into older adult walking through lot

Residents of tent cities unfairly labeled as criminals, says report

Some neighbours supportive of Regina Park camp

Delayed grant decisions could send new Crystal Pool costs soaring

Delays could cost the City of Victoria up to $500,000/month more in construction costs

Delivery truck downs power lines in Sidney

A tractor trailer delivering eggs clipped a low-hanging wire on Second St.… Continue reading

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Special forces unit to monitor Hells Angels ride on Vancouver Island

Enforcement unit says motorcycle club to hold 35th anniversary ride in Nanaimo

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Saanich Police investigate store robbery

Store video captures image of suspect

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 17

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

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Most Read