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OPP officers permitted to use cannabis while off-duty

The Ontario Provincial Police’s cannabis policy states all members must be fit for duty

THUNDER BAY - Members of the Ontario Provincial Police will be permitted to use cannabis products when not on the job but must report to work fit for duty.

In a release issued on Monday, the OPP detailed its cannabis policy for uniformed and civilian members of the police service.

The release states that the OPP is committed to health and safety of its members and the communities it serves and that “reporting to work fit for duty requires a member be without limitations resulting from, but not limited to, all drugs (including cannabis, over-the-counter and prescription medication) and/or alcohol.”

“A member is fit for duty when they are in a physical, mental and emotional state that allows the individual to perform assigned duties competently and in a manner that does not compromise or threaten the safety or health of that individual or others, the environment, or OPP property.”

OPP provincial media coordinator, Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne, said there is no minimum time period from when an officer can use cannabis and then report for duty.

Dionne said it is at the officer’s discretion to know whether or not he or she is fit to fulfill his or her role as either a uniformed or civilian member.

“Because cannabis is being legalized, our existing rule from being impaired still applies, whether the substance is legal or not,” she said.

Officers suspected of being impaired on the job could be subjected to drug testing and face disciplinary action.

Several police services across the country have been implementing different policies for the upcoming legalization of cannabis on Oct. 17, from a minimum period between ingesting cannabis and working, to outright prohibiting members from using the drug.

“We can’t dictate what happens outside of working hours,” Dionne said.  

For members who use cannabis products for medicinal reasons, the OPP will continue to review those accommodation needs in accordance with the Ontario Public Service’s Disability Accommodation Policy and the Ontario Human Right’s Code.  

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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