Cadets, river patrol and community officers will enforce marijuana laws

Winnipeg police cadets will be empowered to arrest people for smoking marijuana in public places or underage use after legalization.
Members of Winnipeg's new cadet bike patrol. They and several types of civilian officers will be able to enforce provincial cannabis rules when legalization comes. (Wendy Buelow/CBC)

Winnipeg police cadets will be empowered to arrest people for smoking marijuana in public places or underage use after legalization. 

That's one of several changes to new rules for community safety officers, First Nation safety officers, Winnipeg's river patrol unit and cadets announced Tuesday. 

"We expect this additional avenue of enforcement will be increasingly important as cannabis is legalized this fall," said Justice Minister Cliff Cullen in a release. 

Cadets will also be able to apprehend people who are trespassing and enforce bans on tobacco smoking in enclosed places.

"The members of our cadets program do amazing work on the streets of our community," said police Chief Danny Smyth. "They receive extensive training and have earned a great deal of trust for the manner in which they carry out their duties.  They know the community; they know the concerns and they can be counted upon to carry out these duties with the utmost dignity, respect and professionalism."

Regulatory changes are coming for the river patrol unit as well; civilian officers provide year-round patrols on the Red, Assiniboine, Seine and LaSalle rivers, among other ages. 

They, too, will be able to enforce cannabis-related laws. But they're also gaining power to enforce intoxication laws for alcohol and illegal drugs, including public consumption, possession by minors, and taking intoxicated people into custody. In addition, they will be able to enforce rules of the Off-Road Vehicles Act and some roadway infractions like driving while disqualified. 

The changes will come into effect Oct. 17, the day cannabis is legalized. 

Some of the changes to community safety officer and First Nation safety officer roles will require community approval. 


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