Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick makes a point during a police board meeting at police headquarters, February 22, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Windsor Police Preparing For Challenges Of Legalized Pot

Local law enforcement is hoping they will be able to face the challenges being brought by the legalization of marijuana.

Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick met with federal Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor this week while she was in town holding a roundtable meeting on opioids. One additional topic the chief discussed with the minister was the challenge law enforcement will face with the legalization of recreational pot, set to take place in mid-October.

Frederick had previously expressed concern over enforcement once legal cannabis hits Windsor. He told reporters following the police services board meeting Thursday that the recent change in provincial government means additional doors have opened for the cannabis trade across the province.

“We went from one storefront under the previous provincial government, to perhaps dozens of storefronts, so that creates additional challenges from a policing perspective, that there would be that many retail outlets,” said Frederick.

Windsor had been one of the first Ontario cities chosen to open one cannabis retailer in the city, though the site has not been chosen. However, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has hinted that the province may open up chances for businesses to obtain licences to sell pot privately.

With that, Frederick said his officers would indeed be dealing with people who light up, then get behind the wheel of a car. Police are hoping that devices used to test drivers for being high will withstand any court challenges, and be available through any additional funding.

“There will be an increase in impaired-by-drug,” said Frederick. “We need those tools. The tool is the first stage, we have that approved now, and we’re looking forward to going forward.”

The device would be used to determine if someone suspected of driving while high is brought in for further evaluation. Some Windsor officers have already been certified to take blood samples and test for intoxication that way, though Frederick would not disclose how many officers currently have that certification.

The chief said that eventually, all 430 of the service’s officers would receive training in determining whether drugs impair someone.

Marijuana is expected to become legal for recreational use nationwide on October 17.