Port Hope Police to focus on enforcing impaired driving laws in October

by Robert Washburn

The Port Hope Police chief said it will be up to the provincial government to set the rules for the legalization of cannabis. Until then, his force is focusing on enforcing impaired driving laws once they take effect on October 17.

Chief Bryan Woods said all his officers are fully trained to spot drivers under the influence of marijuana. But other bylaws and regulation are the responsibility of the provincial and municipal governments. Once those are in place, then he will make sure his officers are applying them.

He is also anxiously awaiting better technology when it comes to doing roadside tests for impaired driving when using drugs. Officers currently rely on their ability to spot unusual behaviours and other signs.

“There is still no effective tool for doing this,” he said Monday. “There is nothing like the breathalyzer. But I am sure something will come along. Until then, we will enforce the laws as we can.”

If there is a suspicion of impairment at the roadside, further scientific tests are done by one of three officers in the county. Two are in Cobourg, and one is with the Northumberland OPP.

For now, it is a matter of waiting to see what other laws or rules will be announced by the provincial government when it comes to recreational uses.

“There are no bylaws currently (in Port Hope),” he said. “I expect they are waiting, too.”

The chief has discussed legalization with municipal leaders and staff. He emphasized the role of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit to introduce measures, as well.

The chief expects many of the requirements will be similar to those dealing with alcohol. He said people will likely not be allowed to smoke it in public places or consume it outside the home. The chief also expects there to be guidelines around transporting cannabis, similar to not being allowed to carry open bottles of liquor.

A RIDE program will take place in the fall where his officers will also do some public education.