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

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

Saanich seals history with time capsule

Saanich will re-open time capsule in 2067

Canadian military gains valuable disaster experience at RIMPAC

Naval, air force and army personnel practise war activities, humanitarian relief

Croatia loses in World Cup final, Victoria fans still jubilant

“We’re just a small little country, we only have 4.5 million people, and look how far we’ve come.”

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Royal Victoria Yacht Club sends strong presence to BC Summer Games

Oak Bay athlete Max Chapman competes in sailing this week

Beacon Hill off to Little League provincials after big win in district final

Victoria team goes 7-0 for the week in Central Saanich, beats host team 10-1 in final

5 things to do this weekend around Victoria

The sounds of summer Rock the Shores returns to the lower fields… Continue reading

Proposed charges will cost Saanich housing affordability

The head of the association representing home builders in the Greater Victoria… Continue reading

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

LOCAL FLAVOUR: South Island expecting a bumper berry crop

It’s berry time in Saanich. My raspberries are getting plump and ripe… Continue reading

Most Read