If you’re thinking you’ll be able to smoke a joint at Stars and Thunder on July 1st, think again.

While discussing impaired driving at the Timmins Police Services Board meeting Thursday, the topic of marijuana came up.

When prompted on where people would be allowed to smoke once legal, it was made clear by Police Chief John Gauthier that it would only be allowed at your home (or a friend’s home, basically just at a private dwelling).

“Unlike alcohol, (where) you can go to a licensed premises, any bar in town or any (licensed) restaurant and have a beer with your meal,” he added.

When Black was questioning, he listed off places to the Chief on prospective places and that included “festivals.”

The conversation started when Board Member and City Councillor Mike Doody asked about where the service is at in terms of policy in handling upcoming marijuana legalization and drug-impaired drivers.

Gauthier says it’s a question being asked all across the country.

“Right now, there’s some training that’s being made available, drug recognition experts and SFST (Standard Field Sobriety Testing) training,” he said, “It’s training that will be afforded to our officers, where they’ll be able to recognize the signs of impairment but right now as it stands, there is no roadside screening device.”

Gauthier says without a screening device, the training will allow officers to make an arrest based on noting signs of impairment.

“There’s a lot of work, I believe in my opinion to be done in that area and I still remain hopeful that one day, one of these scientists or these very smart academics will actually come out with some type of roadside screening device like we have for alcohol.”

Doody then asked about the pot-comparison to someone having alcohol in the vehicle.

Gauthier responded that an open container of alcohol isn’t allowed, and the same goes for smoking marijuana.

He says they can probably make an arrest for impaired driving by drug, but police also have to make a blood demand. The suspect is sent to hospital to extract blood, which is then sent away to be analyzed.

There’s been an uproar about festivals and restrictions in places marijuana is already legal. On the FAQ section of the Coachella festival site, they’ve shot down the thought of anyone using pot even with it being legal in California.

According to a DailyNews article published in August, those restrictions are due to a policy by the promoter.

The federal government introduced legislation in April 2017 to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana by July 2018.

However, it might not even be July 1st anyway.

In an interview with Quebec’s TVA Network in December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shook his head when asked why he’s obsessed with that July 1st date.

Trudeau says it’ll be sometime in the summer.

“The date will not be July 1, I can assure you of that,” he said. “I don’t know where that date came from.”

(With files from The Canadian Press)

Filed under: Local News, marijuana