The Vancouver Police Department is recommending a lenient policy around pot use in its workplace.
In essence, officers, civilian employees, and contractors are expected to be fit for duty whether or not they had consumed weed before their shift.
They cannot do pot while on duty.
The VPD is updating its regulations around ‘intoxicants’ with the impending legalization of recreational pot.
“Prior to commencing work, employees, contractors, and volunteers shall abstain from using alcohol, medication, or controlled drugs in a manner that could render them unfit to perform their duties safely and efficiently,” according to the wording of the proposed policy.
The policy is up for approval by the Vancouver Police Board at its regular meeting on Wednesday (September 26).
A report regarding this matter was prepared for the board by Drazen Manojlovic, director of planning, research, and audit section.
According to Manojlovic, the department is not recommending a specific time period for pot abstinence before the start of duty.
He explained that this is “due to the lack of a clear time frame as to when cannabis would clear someone’s system and no longer render them impaired”.
“The length of impairment for an individual can vary and there is no medical consensus on how long impairment lasts,” Manojlovic wrote. “Specifying a time-frame can create an implicit approval that this period of abstinence is all that’s required to ensure fitness for duty.
“In some cases employees will be fit for duty prior to any arbitrary timeframe while in other cases employees will be impaired significantly beyond this time-frame,” he continued. “This can lead to unnecessary labour conflict where employees are fit for duty but have consumed cannabis within this time-frame, or where employees are not fit for duty but mistakenly believe they are as they consumed outside of this time-frame.”
All that is needed is an “expectation continues to be that all members are fit for duty while at work”.
“It is felt that the inclusion of an arbitrary period of abstinence will not increase safety and may provide a false sense of security to employees,” Manojlovic stated. “Ultimately, the safety of the public and of VPD employees is best served through a policy which explicitly states employees must be fit for duty, regardless of the cause of impairment, along with the information and tools necessary to determine when they are fit for duty.”
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are prohibited from consuming weed eight hours before work, and 24 hours before handling a loaded weapon.