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Toronto police tell people to stop calling them to snitch on neighbours growing cannabis

Chris Baynes
Canadians will be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household after the country legalised the drug: AFP/Getty

Police in Canada have told people to stop reporting their neighbours for growing cannabis after the country lifted a ban on the drug.

Authorities in Toronto also urged the public not to report adults “for smoking a joint” as Canada becomes only the second nation in the world to fully legalise recreational use of marijuana.

The city’s police have launched an awareness campaign in a bid to prevent time-wasting calls as new laws come into force on Wednesday.

“This change represents a significant transition, not just for members of the Toronto Police Service but for all Canadians,” said police chief Mark Saunders. “Going forward it is important for everyone to take the time to educate themselves on legalisation.”

In a series of tweets, Toronto police urged people to no longer contact officers about “your neighbour’s pot plants”, “smelling weed from your neighbour’s home”, or “an adult smoking a joint”.

“Cannabis is no longer illegal,” the posts said. “Do not call police for this.”

Growing up to four cannabis plants will be allowed per household in Canada, which is the largest country in the world to legalise recreational use of the drug.

Consumption will be legal anywhere where smoking is permitted – except in motor vehicles – for people aged 19 and above.

Legalisation follows a decision by the Canadian parliament in the summer, when the Senate voted 52-29 in favour of the move.

The lower chamber, the House of Commons, had voted in favour of the Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act, the day before.

Uruguay is the only other country to have fully legalised the drug.

Canada’s move towards legalisation marks the completion of a pledge made by Justin Trudeau during his victorious campaign for the premiership in 2015.

He argued criminalising the drug was ruining the lives of young people convicted of minor crimes such as possession and boosting organised criminal gangs.

But while Canadian police are keen to stress cannabis use is no longer illegal, officers themselves have been advised to refrain from sparking up.

Toronto police officers will be banned from serving on active duty within 28 days of consuming the drug.

Mr Saunders said: “The science we have relied upon warns us that cannabis is a psychoactive drug that can continue to affect a person’s ability to make good decisions, concentrate, control impulses and rely on memory for up to several weeks after last use. Members need to rely on these very abilities every day.”