Canada's Top Cops at a Loss for Words

With the Ontario marijuana ruling spreading to other provinces,
Canada's top cops are struggling over what to say to their officers
who nab pot smokers. "This is a very urgent situation in Canada," said
Mike Boyd, of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. "The
affect of this (ruling) is that at the moment cannabis appears to be

Courts in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are beginning to adopt
the Ontario Superior Court decision that overturned a youth's
conviction for being caught with less than 30 grams of marijuana.

Direct Impact

"The (Ontario) decision has a very direct impact on the rest of
Canada," said Boyd, a Toronto deputy chief who chair's the CACP
drug-abuse committee.

"Canadian police leaders ... are concerned about the situation and
they are in the process of needing to provide their officers guidance."

The CACP yesterday informed its 400 members how Ontario forces are
dealing with the court ruling.

On Thursday, Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino told his officers not
to lay simple possession charges when they nab pot smokers with a few
joints or a small bag of weed.

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police is also advising forces
not to lay charges in similar circumstances.

It's Not Unanimous

But other provinces, namely British Columbia and Saskatchewan, have so
far decided not to adopt the Ontario ruling. As a result, Boyd said,
the CACP can't suggest Canadian chiefs tell their officers to stop
laying drug possession charges.

The CACP has called on the federal government to "clarify" the ruling
which it said has caused "great confusion."

"The controversy and debate have caused confusion among Canadians, and
that has spread into the justice system," Boyd said.

Pubdate: Sat, 07 Jun 2003
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.