A Colorado police chief is warning Canadians to be prepared for critical challenges as soon as marijuana is legalized north of the border.
The federal authorities has set July 1, 2018 as its aim for legalizing pot and implementing a regulatory scheme.
But Chief John Jackson of Greenwood Village, Colorado says altering the legislation will solely be the primary hurdle.
LISTEN: Colorado police chief warns main challenges coming with pot legalization
In 2016, Colorado noticed its highest variety of traffic fatalities in more than a decade, an element that Jackson is satisfied is linked to legalization.
“For people to say it has nothing to do with legalization, it’s absolute false logic,” Jackson advised CKNW’s Steele & Drex.
Canada’s personal job drive on marijuana legalization produced its report final December, and beneficial towards setting THC (pot’s psychoactive chemical) limits in drivers’ bloodstreams till the science is best understood.
READ MORE: Two selections Parliament could have to make about pot-impaired driving
Several different nations have set authorized limits for THC discovered within the bloodstream of drivers, in micrograms, or millionths of a gram, of THC per litre of blood (µg/L). But the bounds differ: Britain’s is 2µg/L, whereas Colorado and Washington have set 5µg/L.
Canada’s report did make a number of suggestions relating to impaired driving.
Those embody researching the impact of THC on crashes, taking a look at consumption limits, creating and investing in a brand new roadside pot “breathalyzer” and more coaching for police.
It additionally referred to as for zero tolerance for brand new and younger drivers.
WATCH: How Regina police are dealing with drivers influenced by marijuana
Part of the issue with legalizing now, in accordance to Jackson, is that police lack the instruments for efficient enforcement of impaired drivers.
“It’s very difficult for us to tell impairment in the field. And there’s a big difference between impairment and intoxication, we haven’t yet been able to define that science,” he stated.
Because dependable know-how akin to alcohol breathalyzers doesn’t exist but, Jackson stated police as a substitute have to make a case based mostly on elements like driving habits, odor, and look.
But even once they do, they run into hassle getting prosecutors to proceed with the case, or juries to discover guilt he stated.
He added that police are additionally coping with individuals’s completely different physiological reactions to pot, and the truth that some individuals are consuming concentrates or edibles with extraordinarily excessive percentages of THC.
He believes police are years from having the stable science to successfully gauge impairment on the highway.
“I have no doubt that in 15-20 years from now, we will be [where we are now regarding alcohol],” he stated.
“We’re building the data sets right now to get there, the unfortunate part is the data sets involve human life. This is not just numbers on a page, it is family members who are dying.”
WATCH: How has pot legalization affected Colorado?
On prime of the roadside enforcement challenges, Jackson stated there are different social prices related to legalization.
Those embody organising a regulatory regime, training, therapy, and he claims, a spike within the homeless inhabitants.
“The major city here in Colorado calls them urban travellers who come here to smoke marijuana. They’ve overtaken a lot of our natural forest areas, growing and using.”
As Canada approaches legalization, Jackson stated it ought to look intently at Colorado’s instance and make certain it’s weighing the earnings from marijuana taxes towards these social prices.
-With recordsdata from Patrick Cain
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.