It will be back to "business as usual" for the North Bay Police Service in its enforcement of Canada’s marijuana laws, says police chief George Berrigan.
The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday there is a clear difference between recreational use and medical use of marijuana, and upheld that social and recreational use of the drug remains a criminal offence under Section 4 of the Controlled and Substance Act.
Because of the decision, police will resume enforcing the prohibition of marijuana as contained in the Act.
The court, in it's ruling, has upheld that the offence is “constitutionally valid and of full force and effect.”
Happy to see law still stands
The court has further made a clear distinction between the illegal possession of marijuana for social and recreational use and possession for medical use provided that individuals have obtained proper and legal exceptions.
“I’m pleased the court clarified the issue and happy now for people who belong to organizations like MADD, who are trying to stop impaired drivers on the highway,” Berrigan said.
“There’s still a move to decriminalize and that will go on with time, but I’m happy to see a law that was on the books will still stand.”
“But when the judiciary enters the fray of lawmaking, Berrigan said, “and saying laws parliament made are not valid, well there are interesting issues around that.”
Enough to concern us
North Bay police officers won’t spend “a lot of time” looking for small quantities of marijuana in the one to five-gram range, Berrigan said.
“But at the same time if we find people operating under the influence of cannabis or in possession of quantities sufficient enough to cause us concern, then we’ll do what we have to do.”