NJ cops already smoke weed off duty, this week they’ll be allowed (Opinion)
A memo put out by acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin might be shocking to some. Platkin’s memo makes clear that under New Jersey’s legalized recreational marijuana law members of law enforcement are well within their rights to partake in the consumption of marijuana as long as it’s when they’re off duty.
It reminds police departments they “may not take any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off duty.” As long as they’re not actively high on duty, it won’t matter if a drug test shows traces of thc left in their system from days or weeks ago.
If you find this shocking, get over it. Some police officers already use marijuana when they’re off duty. Guess what? So do some judges. Some lawyers. Some doctors. Some everybody.
When legal sales begin Thursday, April 21, the only thing this changes for those officers is a threat is removed for them. As well it should be. Just as alcohol is a legal substance but no law enforcement officer would be allowed to be drunk on the job the same it will be for marijuana and being high. But what they do in their private time, just like alcohol used responsibly, is none of our business.
Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer disagrees with me. She’s a Republican out of Gloucester who has a problem with Platkin’s memo and put out a statement on the matter.
In it Sawyer says, “Anyone who wants to work in public safety must be held to higher standards. Our men and women in law enforcement have the responsibility to make life-altering decisions on a daily basis, for themselves, their partners, for the public. I want to trust that they are at their best when doing so.”
On what basis is her beef? The fact that marijuana is still an illegal Schedule 1 substance under federal law. This ridiculous classification puts marijuana unfairly in the same dangerous classification as LSD and heroin.
This apparently got the attention of Gov. Phil Murphy who on Monday says he's open to changing the rules and disallowing off-duty officers from partaking in legalized marijuana.
New Jersey’s law legalizing marijuana isn’t going to greatly increase the number of officers smoking marijuana when off duty. I think Assemblywoman Sawyer has seen “Reefer Madness” as a documentary rather than a propaganda film. If you want to support our police then support the decisions they make on how they want to live their lives when not on the clock.
Who’s right? Take our poll below.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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