Should marijuana users get ticketed or charged for pot possession?

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Canada’s police chiefs are suggesting officers hand out tickets for pot possession rather than laying criminal charges.

Vancouver PD Chief Constable Jim Chu, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), said that by ticketing users caught with less than 30 grams of marijuana, it would reduce policing and court costs.

On Tuesday, a resolution saying that officers need more enforcement options when dealing with people caught with pot was passed by hundreds of delegates, made up of senior Canadian law enforcement officials, at the CACP conference in Winnipeg.

Currently, officers can either warn a person caught for “simple possession” and let them go completely without charges or arrest them, lay criminal charges and have them go through the court process. Chu said this needs to change.

Chu was clear to point out that the CACP is not advocating for decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana or getting rid of the ability for police officers to lay charges. Being charged with possession is something that goes on your criminal record, which hurts the ability for someone to travel or be employed, for example. Instead, a simple ticket under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act would avoid this.

He also said that often times officers turn a blind eye when faced with simple possession scenarios because the paperwork and time it takes to lay charges is far too long and not worth the effort.

 

 

Image: Andy Clark / Reuters

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