New Jersey’s Cannabis Legalization Law Allows Police Officers To Smoke Off-Duty
In the first days of legal cannabis being for sale in New Jersey, one interesting response has been from the state’s local leaders and the police as they decide how to respond to the fact that off-duty officers are technically allowed to get high along with other Jersey residents or visitors.
It was confirmed by the state’s attorney general Matthew Platkin in a message to Jersey police heads that per the current version of the law, even police departments aren’t allowed to punish employees for using pot unless they are high on the job. One mayor, Jersey City’s Steven Fulop has already promised to fire any cop that tests positive for marijuana despite the new law.
Fulop said “they can expect long litigation,” over the provision allowing cops to get high, and added, “Every other state in the country that legalized cannabis had a carve-out that did not allow off-duty police officers to smoke.” He also indicated that leaders of other cities would join in his call to add the carve-out to the law. “Newark followed us, Weehawken followed us, Bayonne followed us,” Fulop said.
One of Fulop’s main arguments is that it can be harder to test how high a suspect is in the immediate moment the way you can with a Blood Alcohol Content test. “You can’t tell if somebody smoked on the job, an hour before they started the job, eight hours before or a week before,” Fulop noted.
Even though people, and still cops, were able to purchase marijuana beginning last Thursday, calls to add this provision are rising with one state senator already reportedly introducing a bill to add it. Jersey Gov Phil Murphy (D) has said he was “open-minded” to adjusting the legislation but has not made any direct moves in the process yet.”
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