'It's not our legislation': Charlottetown mayor says feds should help pay for pot enforcement

The mayor of Charlottetown is voicing his concern over Canada's plan to legalize marijuana.

Mayor says city doesn't have enough information to plan

The Mayor says enforcement will be tough to pay for. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The mayor of Charlottetown is voicing his concern over Canada's plan to legalize marijuana.

"This year it's marijuana, next year it's another drug, next year it's another drug, and I think it's a sad reflection on Canada today," said Lee, who doesn't think marijuana should be legalized.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee says the feds need to get a plan together. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

"That we have people dying on the streets of this country from drug overdoses and our reaction to the issue of drugs in our community is let's legalize one of them, it just doesn't make any sense, quite frankly, to me."

Extra enforcement

One big concern for Lee is how municipalities will be expected to pay for extra enforcement, especially around impaired driving.

From his research, Lee is estimating it could cost around $750,000 to get the Charlottetown force trained as Drug Recognition Evaluator/Experts (DRE).

Lee worries about the costs of additional training for officers, particularly around impaired driving. (Twitter/RCMP)

"Somebody needs to pay that bill and I want to make sure that cost is not passed on to the municipal tax payers of Charlottetown," Lee said.

The RCMP currently has three active DREs, and confirmed the training costs approximately $15,000 for one member.

Spokesperson Sgt Kevin Baille said currently the training isn't offered in Canada, but if it was, that would bring the cost down. 

Baille said RCMP on P.E.I. will be undergoing further training called Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST).

Feds should pay up: Lee

But for Lee, already tight municipal budgets can't handle much else, especially when it isn't something they planned.

"It's not our legislation and whoever wants to bring in the legislation should be the level of government that pays the bill."

Lee said some of the rules themselves will provide challenges. 

"One of the pieces of legislation says that everyone can grow up to four plants in their home. How in the real world is any police agency going to police that requirement, it makes absolutely no sense, and I think somebody need to start to talk to the police agencies in this country of ours."

Lee says one concern he has is how police will enforce the number of plants individuals will be allowed to grow. (David Horemans/CBC)

Charlottetown's chief of police is currently working on a report with his concerns. 

"That report will be going to all of city council and the City of Charlottetown will be taking a position of how we move forward on this issue," Lee said 

"July 1st of next year is the magic date when this legislation is going to be proclaimed, we don't have a whole lot of time to figure out how this is going to work in the City of Charlottetown."

Province planning 

The P.E.I.'s Department of Justice said government is planning to set up a working group to look at the impacts of drug impaired driving, along with what sorts of requirements it will require.

There is a plan to reach out to other provinces and territories to learn about different approaches and to hear from stakeholders like the municipalities.

"Working in partnership with provinces, territories, municipalities and local communities, the government of Canada will make appropriate investments to train and equip law enforcement so that Canada's roads and highways are safe for all Canadians," said a statement from Public Safety Canada.