People caught smoking or vaping recreational cannabis in a public place in Manitoba will face a $672 fine.
A press secretary for Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said the preset fine amount received cabinet approval on Wednesday.
“Our government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Manitobans as we manage the consequences of the federal government’s decision to legalize cannabis,” said Caitlin MacGregor in an email to CTV Winnipeg.
Under the Non-Smokers Health Protection and Vapour Products Act, people are prohibited from smoking or vaping non-medical cannabis in outdoor public places including streets and sidewalks, parks and beaches, school grounds, restaurant patios and decks, the grounds of healthcare facilities as well as provincial parks.
On Wednesday, Cullen also said Manitoba police agencies will not receive oral fluid screening devices in time for legalization due to federal government delays and the processing time for the delivery of the devices.
The devices would be used by officers for roadside testing of suspected drug-impaired drivers.
Cullen said Manitoba expects to get 21 of the devices prior to the end of 2018/2019 fiscal year.
Both the RCMP and Winnipeg police said officers will still be able to enforce drug-impaired driving laws without the devices.
Sgt. Kyle McFadyen, the head of Eastman traffic services for the RCMP, said officers can use standardized field sobriety testing as well as drug recognition expert evaluation to lay a charge of drug-impaired driving.
“With the oral fluid devices not being available yet, that is simply one additional tool we have to some already pretty good tools to combat impaired driving by drugs and by alcohol,” said McFadyen. “As much as it will be a value to us it is simply just another tool that we don’t have quite yet but we’ll be able to use.”
McFadyen said the RCMP has 22 drug recognition experts trained across the province and 130 frontline officers trained in standardized field sobriety testing.
Insp. Gord Spado with the Winnipeg Police Service’s traffic division said without the machines, officers will continue enforcing drug-impaired laws the same way they have prior to legalization. He said he expects Winnipeg police to start using the oral fluid screening devices in the next four to six weeks.
“I’d like to have it live by the beginning of December when we do our annual checkstop program,” said Spado. “I’d like to have that device in our checkstop van.”
READ MORE: CTV News Winnipeg’s extended coverage of legalization of cannabis in Manitoba
Full story is available here.