28 days later: Marijuana bans for cops raise questions about impairment

By October 15, 2018 Recent News

The Leaf Cannabis News 11 October 2018 
Plans by some major Canadian police forces to prevent officers from using marijuana within 28 days of work — or from using it at all — are raising important questions about exactly how long cannabis impairment can last.

RCMP officers in “safety-sensitive” roles will have to “refrain from using non-medicinal cannabis 28 days prior to reporting to work,” according to a statement from the federal police force. The Toronto Police Service is implementing a rule that would prevent officers from using the soon-to-be-legal drug within 28 days of a duty shift. In Calgary, the vast majority of police officers won’t be allowed to use cannabis, ever.

“It doesn’t seem fair to me, but I suppose it’s the prerogative of the police force to set the rules — they just can’t pretend that it’s based in science,” says Zach Walsh, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia who has researched cannabis extensively.

“I would say that we probably don’t want police officers showing up under the acute effects of cannabis, and those last five or six hours, with the most intense period being two (hours),” says Walsh. (Intoxication from edible forms of cannabis can last longer.)

The RCMP described its strict 28-day cannabis policy as “a careful approach,” based on “the current scientific information on the impairing effects of cannabis, including information from the Government of Canada.” A Toronto police spokeswoman said the force developed its policy based on internal “research and consultation,” as well as advice from “other bodies like the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.” Toronto police “will be open to revisiting this procedure in the future,” the spokeswoman said.

Although it’s not clear exactly which scientific research the RCMP is relying on, some research has found heavy cannabis users perform worse on cognitive tests for a certain amount of time after use.
READ MORE: https://www.theleafnews.com/news/28-days-later-marijuana-bans-for-cops-raise-questions-about-impairment-496980581.html

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