Canada: Nation’s Police Chiefs Endorse Plan To Cite, But Not Arrest, Minor Marijuana Offenders

Canada: Nation's Police Chiefs Endorse Plan To Cite, But Not Arrest, Minor Marijuana Offenders

Winnipeg, Canada: Canada’s police chiefs have endorsed the notion of citing, rather than arresting, those persons found with personal use amounts of marijuana. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police voted overwhelmingly in support of the proposed policy change at its annual meeting last week in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

"The current process of sending all simple possession of cannabis cases under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act to criminal court is placing a significant burden on the entire Justice system from an economic and resource utilization perspective," stated CACP President Chief Constable Jim Chu in a press release.

The Association proposed allowing police the discretion to issue tickets for minor marijuana violators in lieu of making a criminal arrest. Allowing police to utilize this option would prevent offenders from "receiving a criminal record, which can place significant barriers on travel, obtaining employment, bonding and citizenship," the agency stated.

Variations of this policy, commonly referred to as ‘decriminalization,’ are presently imposed in 16 US states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Nebraska.

The Association’s endorsement came just days after Justin Trudeau admitted to having used cannabis while serving as a member of Parliament. Public support for Trudeau, who is campaigning to become Prime Minister, has increased since his admission.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.