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Off-Duty Ottawa Police Can Smoke Cannabis, Officials Announce

Off-duty police officers in Ottawa, Ontario will be allowed to smoke cannabis as long as they are “fit for duty” by their shift, OttawaMatters reports.

“We feel that this is the best approach … respecting the fact that it’s a legal product. [But] an officer needs to be fit for duty, regardless of what he or she may be doing off-duty that is legal.” — Police Chief Charles Bordeleau, via OttawaMatters

Chief Bordeleau said department policy doesn’t specify a minimum amount of time between an officer’s cannabis use and when they’re allowed to show up for work, but he said “fit for duty” is a defined term. Many other police departments in Ontario — and police in Vancouver, British Columbia, as well — will mirror the capital’s policy, Bordeleau said.

Some departments, however, have opted for a hard line approach. Both Toronto police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), for example, are considering a ban on cannabis use for officers within 28 days of their next shift, the National Post reports. In Calgary, nearly all law enforcement officers will be forbidden from using cannabis, even during off-duty downtime.

Workplaces throughout the country are grappling with updated cannabis use policies as Legalization Day approaches. Adult-use cannabis becomes legal in Canada on Wednesday, October 17.

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