June 12, 2024

By Jessica Towriss, Spoke News

With Canada’s legalization of marijuana effective Oct. 17, many citizens are concerned about how the Region of Waterloo is going to regulate and control these changes. With billions of dollars invested, Canada is scurrying to ready itself before the legalization occurs.

There has been much preparation for this day and the Waterloo Regional Police Service has indicated it is ready to tackle the legalization head-on. Local officers are being trained for the upcoming legalization and how to recognize when a driver is under the influence of drugs.

WRPS Chief Bryan Larkin recently told the Waterloo Region Record that his officers “are not envisioning chaos.”

“We are naive to think people aren’t consuming cannabis now and driving vehicles. We had not trained our members to the level where they could detect it. We are in a better place now,” he said.

As for driving under the influence, new changes have been implemented to try and deal with the issue head-on. Law enforcement officers are authorized to demand that a driver provide an oral fluid sample if it is reasonably suspected that they are under the influence of drugs. In addition to these tests, the new legislation allows officers to use drug screening devices to detect the presence of recent drug consumption. These drugs include THC from cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Other unexpected changes that could occur upon legalization is the selling of marijuana at well-known pharmacies.

Shoppers Drug Mart has more than 1,250 locations in Canada and has been grappling at the idea of selling cannabis through its stores. The company, owned by Loblaws, has applied through Health Canada to become a licensed provider of marijuana but without the intent of growing it themselves. Shoppers Drug Mart would purchase marijuana from licensed producers and then resell those items online to authorized medical users.

Even though the sales of marijuana from the pharmacy would be restricted to online, it still raises the question if it would give more access for medical patients.

For my information on the legalization of marijuana, you can visit the website for the Government of Canada.


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