Ottawa's police chief says he's on board with the idea to ticket people found with small amounts of marijuana, rather than drag offenders through the courts on formal charges.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police voted overwhelmingly in favour of ticketing people found with 30 grams of marijuana or less.

The vote happened at the association's annual meeting in Winnipeg earlier this week.

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Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said the proposed changes would give police another option when dealing with offenders. (CBC)

Currently, police can either give a warning or formally charge offenders.

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said the proposed changes would give police another, and more preferred option.

"What this is about is providing our officers an additional tool for them to hold people accountable and have some consequences over possession of small amounts of marijuana," said Bordeleau.

Ottawa defence lawyer, Geraldine Castle-Trudel, who frequently represents drug offenders, applauded the proposal.

"I think it's terrific. I think it's a really good move and hopefully it will be adopted, and quickly, because there's a lot of people who face charges right now, as the system works," said Castle-Trudel.

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The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police voted overwhelmingly in favour of ticketing people found with 30 grams of marijuana or less. (Matilde Campodonico/Associated Press)

"There are people in society, law abiding citizens who contribute fully to the community who enjoy smoking marijuana as a recreational activity at the odd occasion — they're at a party or whatever."

Castle-Trudel added the current system is costly to taxpayers. She also said the system has a harmful effect on the long-term future for those charged due to marks on the criminal record.

Bordeleau said the change would relieve the expenses of putting people with minor drug charges through the court system.

Officers frustrated with current system

"Right now our officers are frustrated because when they arrest somebody for possession and it's a joint or two, or under 30 grams, it's a very cumbersome and expensive process and time consuming process to send that individual to court," said Bordeleau.

The chief added people who are caught with 30 grams or less could face a pre-charge diversion program, similar to what first-time shoplifters face.

The federal government would need to approve the change.