RCMP eases recreational cannabis use policy for officers

Cannabis. Image credit: Unsplash/Wesley Gibbs

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Ottawa/CMEDIA: The RCMP’s policy on cannabis use by members has reportedly been relaxed by the RCMP, who said they must be fit for duty when reporting for work.

According to the 2018 policy regarding substance use front-line officers and many other employees in “safety-sensitive” positions were to refrain from recreational cannabis use for four weeks before duty.

The new policy implemented earlier this month, aligns the Mounties with many other police forces on employee pot use.

Welcoming the move, the National Police Federation (NPC), which represents nearly 20,000 RCMP members was reported saying that the previous policy was “not consistent with the police universe.”

The union committees had been advocating for review and modernization of the policy since 2020, a recent statement from Brian Sauve, NPC president said

Last summer the 2018 policy was under review, with no final decision taken, the RCMP reportedly acknowledged.

“Policing organizations that initially had a zero tolerance or 28-day restriction have or are moving towards either a fit for duty or 24-hour abstinence requirement, or a combination of both,” said the spring 2023 briefing note.

The new policy says RCMP employees must not be impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other substances and must be fit to perform their duties and carry out their responsibilities when on duty or at work.

The policy excludes underwater divers and pilots, as they are still required to follow the requirements of their professional governing bodies, Sauve’s statement said.

Since the risk of impairment from substances such as cannabis varies depending on the person, use patterns and product quality, impairment may differ from one user to another, and from one use episode to another.

All aspects of the force’s operations in crafting the new policy were reviewed, the RCMP said.