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Ottawa police officers to be allowed to use cannabis off duty

"We feel that this is the best approach...respecting the fact that it's a legal product," said Chief Charles Bordeleau.
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Ottawa's police officers will be allowed to use cannabis when they're off duty once it becomes legal on Oct. 17, but they cannot show up to work stoned.

The city's police services board got an update on the preparations for cannabis legalization, Monday afternoon. Before the meeting, the police chief said while officers won't be banned from using the drug when they're not on the job, they must show up to work "fit for duty."

"An officer needs to be fit for duty when showing up for work," said Chief Charles Bordeleau. "We have different assessment methods to be able to determine whether that person is fit for duty or not."

Listen to Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof on Ottawa Today:

Calgary's police service has banned sworn officers who are not on desk duty from consuming recreational cannabis, over concerns about the amount of time THC would remain in a person's system.

"We feel that [allowing officers to consume cannabis while off-duty] is the best approach...respecting the fact that it's a legal product," said Bordeleau. "An officer or member of the police service needs to be fit for duty, regardless of what he or she may be doing off-duty that is legal."

Bordeleau says his police service's cannabis policy does not specify a minimum number of hours that must elapse between the officer using cannabis and reporting for duty, but that the term "fit for duty" is a defined term. He added, Ottawa's approach is the one most Ontario police services are taking.

Jason White

About the Author: Jason White

Jason is an award-winning reporter at CityNews Ottawa. He brings about two decades of experience in news, with stops in Halifax and Toronto.
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