Cop and Crown counsel give the straight dope on cannabis laws

A cop and a crown prosecutor were on hand Saturday at the KPAC to talk cannabis laws with members of local crime prevention groups and the public.

Cst Brandie Guzyk and crown prosecutor Tamera Golinsky led the session.

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Both noted legalization hasn’t created a lot of problems in the law’s eyes.

“I honestly thought we’d have more problems with it, but we don’t,” said Guzyk.

But there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to cannabis laws. Impaired driving isn’t as much of an exact science as alcohol — what level is unsafe, for instance.

“They’re doing tests and they can find it in your body, but we don’t know it like they know alcohol,” said Golinsky. “Alcohol comes out of your bloodstream like a mathematical equation, [. . .] they don’t know [with cannabis]. They don’t have that yet.”

“This is one of the great things with legalization, they’re going to start learning and they’re going to be able to study and figure it out.”

In Dawson Creek, it was noted that the technology for saliva testing is not yet here, and police have to rely on drug recognition experts.

Laws will have to be updated, noted Guzyk.

Golinsky noted how it can be somewhat confusing, like how you can smoke it in public — with exceptions, like tobacco — but it also impairs you.

“It’s governed like cigarettes, but it gets you intoxicated.”

With that said, smoking cannabis while driving is a no-no, as is consumption by passengers. Cannabis can only be carried while driving if it’s unopened with the government seal, not accessible to passengers or the driver (ie the trunk), or not more than four cannabis plants that are not budding or blooming.

There’s also a difference between selling and distributing. The only ones able to sell legally are licenced facilities. However, individuals can “distribute” — give — up to 30 grams. (Excludes illicit cannabis, budding plants, as well as distributing to youth).

Also note that laws regarding cannabis shift province to province. (The duo were talking about the laws in BC).

reporter@dcdn.ca
 

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