TRENTON-New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin stated last week that under the state’s new cannabis legislation, off-duty cops will be able to buy and consume cannabis. In a statement emailed to New Jersey police departments on Wednesday, Platkin’s outlined the policy, which comes roughly a week before recreational cannabis sales begin in the state.
According to the Asbury Park Press, “[Departments] may not take any unfavorable action against any cops because they do or do not consume cannabis off duty.” “An employer shall not discipline an employee only because of the presence of cannabis metabolites in the employee’s body fluid.”
The Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act, signed by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in 2021, prevents employers from firing adults 21 and older for cannabis-related offenses.
New Jersey officers are still forbidden from using or having cannabis on the job, according to Platkin.
“At any time, on or off duty, while employed in this State, there should be zero tolerance for unregulated cannabis usage by officers,” the document stated. “Nothing less is acceptable for the safety of our communities and our officers.”
Law enforcement agencies must maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace, which includes cannabis/cannabis, whether authorized or illegal.”
Shortly after recreational cannabis was legalized in New York last year, the NYPD stated that cops would be prohibited from using the drug even when they were not on duty.
The NYPD medical division released a memo in 2021 that stated, “With reference to recently passed state law that legalized the recreational use of cannabis, uniformed and civilian members of the service are reminded that the usage of cannabis is still completely banned.”
“All existing patrol guide procedures pertaining to its prohibition, as well as drug test protocols, remain in place.” Members are reminded that they must always be physically fit for duty.
Members considered unfit for duty or who fail a drug test are subject to suspension and/or firing at the Police Commissioner’s discretion.”