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Oral fluid marijuana screening kits won’t be in the hands of Manitoba police officers by the time recreational cannabis consumption is legal in Canada.

Justice minister Cliff Cullen said yesterday police in Manitoba won’t have the Drager Drugtest 5000 by October 17th, blaming federal government delays and the processing time for delivery.

But Cullen said that is just one tool an officer will have to detect whether a driver is high.

“(The officer) has the drug recognition evaluation survey, if you will, roadside. So if (the officer) determines this person appears to be impaired, then (they) can seek out the actual blood test that’s required, and the blood test will be unequivocal,” said Cullen.

According to the province, Manitoba police agencies will be able to get 21 Drager Drugtest 5000s for the 2018/19 fiscal year; the plan is to get 111 of the devices over five years through federal funding.

The province also launched a public education campaign yesterday – one week before legalization.

“Our message to Manitobans: cannabis use is not without risk, especially for young people. The Manitoba education campaign touches on a number of issues related to cannabis and health, particularly for youth and children. The important health messages that we want to convey relate to addiction and dependency, mental health, brain development, and pregnancy,” said health minister Cameron Friesen.

Friesen said studies show about nine per cent of people who use cannabis become dependent on the drug, and teens who use marijuana heavily have a greater risk of developing mental illness.

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