Politics

Pot fine proposal draws no opinion from RCMP's Bob Paulson

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says he has no opinion on a proposal from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police that the federal government make changes to allow officers to ticket people for possessing small amounts of marijuana instead of always laying a criminal charge.

RCMP Commissioner says he's not in the business of policy and law

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says he has no opinion on a proposal from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police that the federal government make changes to allow officers to ticket people for possessing small amounts of marijuana instead of always laying a criminal charge. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The chief of Canada's biggest police force says he doesn't have an opinion on a proposal to give law enforcement more options when they catch people with small quantities of marijuana. 

CBC News asked RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson what he thinks about a recent resolution passed by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) recommending the federal government introduce a ticketing option. That way officers could suggest someone be fined instead of criminally charged. 

"Yeah, I don't have a view," said Paulson. 

"I'm a simple country cop, you know. I'm in the business of policing and others are in the business of policy and law."

His response is not unexpected.  For the most part, RCMP commissioners steer clear of any discussion about federal justice policy or anything remotely political.

Others are not so hesitant to step in to the political fray. 

Back in August, CACP president and Vancouver Chief Constable Jim Chu wrote that the current system is a burden.

"The current process of sending all simple possession of cannabis cases under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to criminal court is placing a significant burden on the entire justice system from an economic and resource utilization perspective," he wrote. 

Chu added that the association still believes the illicit use of cannabis has a negative impact on public safety and the health of young people.

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