NJ cops won’t be banned from smoking weed
It is unlikely that New Jersey police officers will be banned from using recreational cannabis as legal sales begin this week in the Garden State.
New Jersey State Senate President Nick Scutari, D-Union, called regulating people's behavior when they are on their own time a "very dangerous slippery slope" and one he was "not willing to go down." Scutari made his comments during an event held at Rowan University.
That effectively kills any attempt to bar law enforcement from enjoying recreational cannabis when off-duty.
Gov. Phil Murphy indicated he was "open-minded" to talking about such a ban. Murphy said if there were "reasonable steps" to banning cannabis use for police and all first responders, he would "absolutely" consider it.
Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer, R-Gloucester, has already proposed such a prohibition, saying law enforcement need to be held to a higher standard.
"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," Sawyer said. "I want to trust that they are at their best when doing so.”
Democratic Senator Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, also proposed a "zero tolerance" policy for marijuana use for law enforcement.
Without Scutari's support, however, no ban would ever make it to Murphy's desk to be signed into law.
Before Murphy made his comments, Attorney General Matthew Platkin had already issued a memo to police agencies across the state.
The memo stated that departments "may not take any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off duty." That includes if officers test positive for weed use in drug screenings.
However, that does not mean they can come to work high or under the influence of any substance.
Murphy was clear on that when he spoke at an event on Monday, saying anyone who showed up for work impaired "would be dealt with aggressively."
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