Windsor police chief Al Frederick, February 12, 2016. (Photo by Jason Viau)Windsor police chief Al Frederick, February 12, 2016. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Chief: Legal pot 'almost a non-issue'

Windsor's police chief said his department has not experienced many hiccups since cannabis was legalized over a week ago.

Chief Al Frederick discussed the Windsor Police Service's handling of legal marijuana following last week's police services board meeting. He said so far he has not come across any problems with public consumption.

"Personally I have not seen anybody smoking marijuana in a public place or anything, so I think it's almost a non-issue," said Frederick.

Technically under the new law, cannabis consumption on private property is legal and not typically something the service will get involved in, said the chief. However, pot sales are only available online in Ontario, and with shipping delays reported due to rotating strikes by Canada Post, people may be consuming pot that is acquired illegally. Frederick said if his officers determine as such, tickets can still be written for consumption.

Overall, there have been few problems associated with the legalization of pot, which took place October 17. Frederick said officers have conducted routine RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) checks for alcohol and cannabis impairment and as of Friday afternoon, only one citation has been issued for pot impairment.

Frederick also touched on the subject of pardons and expungements. The federal government said they will consider pardons for people convicted of cannabis consumption now that the substance is legal. The chief said the service has received a sharp increase in the number of requests for record checks.

"For expungements related to cannabis and from what the prime minister has promised, that hasn't begun yet," said Frederick. "I would anticipate an increase in those requests, and we've indicated again, we don't know what that process will look like."

Guidelines are now in place as far as how much cannabis a person can legally purchase and how much a person can have at home at one time. With pot sales only taking place online in Ontario at the moment, retail sales are not expected to begin until spring 2019.

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