This Weed In News: Canada’s Cops Could Consume Cannabis, Legal Medical Weed Might Not be OK in Oklahoma, and Utah Sheriffs Mobilize Against Legalization Vote

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Canadian police could be allowed to consume marijuana during off-hours once recreational marijuana is officially legalized in the Great White North; Oklahoma municipalities are preparing for medicinal cannabis by passing zoning laws that will regulate where dispensaries can be located; and at least one Utah sheriff’s office urged residents to vote ‘no’ on the state’s medical marijuana ballot initiative, Proposition 2.

Fit for Duty: Vancouver Police Can Fire Up During Off Hours

Once Canada officially makes recreational cannabis available on Oct.r 17, 2018, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) will allow off-duty officers to use marijuana, provided they refrain from getting high at least 24 hours before strapping on their gun and eight hours before they report for duty, according to a Sept. 15, 2018, report in the Vancouver Sun.

“Training around the VPD’s impairment at the workplace policy will contain information on the latest research on the use of cannabis,” Constable Jason Doucette told the Vancouver Sun. “We want to provide our officers with the latest information so they can make an informed decision when it comes to cannabis use and being fit for duty.”

The newly announced regulations represent a harbinger for other police agencies across Canada. Although the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has yet to establish its rules and regulations regarding cannabis use, a statement provided by Sgt. Marie Damien of the RCMP sounded encouraging for Mounties who might otherwise swap their favorite alcoholic beverage for some Canadian chronic.

“Once finalized, the policy will provide direction to employees and their supervisors surrounding work standards on the non-medicinal use of cannabis,” Sgt. Damien said.

By allowing off-duty officers to consume recreational marijuana in Canada, this could represent  a pivotal moment for America’s law enforcement. In the United States, police officers are prohibited from using marijuana, regardless of whether they live in a legal state. A restrictive functionality of its Schedule I status within the Controlled Substances Act, the prohibition of marijuana use would encourage greater substance abuse within America’s law enforcement communities  and drives them to addictive substances.

According to a 2013 Police Magazine article, approximately 25 percent of America’s police officers have an addiction to either prescription medications or alcohol. Typically, it’s only after police retire in the U.S., do we get to learn how they truly feel about the continued prohibition of marijuana. In the below video produced by The Cut, titled “Ex-Cops Smoking Weed,” three police officers take some major bong rips and talk about their past experiences with marijuana and their current beliefs on prohibition.

Some Oklahoma Cities Zone Out Medical Marijuana

As Oklahoma’s municipalities address zoning regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries, cities such as Broken Arrow and El Reno are making it difficult for potential owners to find or afford an acceptable business location.

In Broken Arrow, the City Council voted Sept. 18, 2018  to levy a $2,500 annual permit fee on dispensaries and prohibit owners from growing their medicinal marijuana without first gaining written permission from the property owner, according to a Sept. 18, 2018 report in the Tulsa World. Meanwhile, in El Reno, some members of the City Council believe changes may be required to existing zoning laws in order to limit medical marijuana dispensaries in those areas zoned for commercial or industrial use.

“And it’s wrong… dead wrong. Medical cannabis is less harmful than the cheeseburger from McDonald’s and yet we’re afraid to utilize it for pain relief and opioid rehabilitation?” tweeted Richard Castaldo, the Libertarian candidate for Oklahoma’s 2nd U.S. Congressional District. “Oklahomans overwhelmingly passed [State Question] 788 and we overwhelmingly want it to be respected in every city.”

Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788 (SQ 788) and the legalization of medical marijuana on June 26, 2018, by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin. Although the verbiage in SQ 788 expressly forbids any local government from “unduly” restricting their zoning laws to prevent the opening of a medical marijuana dispensary, that’s exactly what some municipalities are trying to accomplish.

Utah Law Enforcement Officials Oppose Medical Marijuana Legalization

Over the past several weeks, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office have shared an anti-marijuana video from Drug Free Idaho on their official (government) Facebook pages. The move was a response to an initiative on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot that seeks to legalize medical marijuana, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The video post, in addition to being a propaganda hit piece, was a potential violation of election law that prohibits government agencies from using public funds to influence ballot propositions, according to the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office.

“The law is pretty clear that [government entities]shouldn’t spend funds to try to influence ballot propositions or to encourage people to vote for or against specific candidates,” Justin Lee, director of elections in the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office, told the newspaper.

A Sept. 4, 2018, poll found 64 percent of likely voters view the legalization of medical marijuana favorably. Opposed by the Mormon church, the Utah Medical Association (UMA), and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, Proposition 2 and the medical marijuana advocacy group Utah Patients Coalition have managed to generate a fair amount of anxiety among the prohibitionist crowd in the Beehive State.

In a state that loves nothing more potent than a cold Mountain Dew served with a side of green gelatin, the legalization of medical marijuana represents a threat to the status quo’s existing monopoly over individual lives. While the Mormon church mandates its followers live the Word of Wisdom, and the UMA would like to keep prescribing their pharmaceuticals, the Utah Sheriffs Association needs passive and compliant inmates to help keep their prisons and jails full.

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