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New Jersey police officers will no longer be tested for cannabis unless they're suspected of using or being under the influence while on duty or if their position requires federal drug testing, similar to other drug-free workplace protections included in the state’s marijuana legalization laws.
The decision, which became a thorny issue, came after months of back-and-forth negotiations is meant to "provide officers with clear guidelines and protection."
In April 2022, Attorney General Matt Platkin issued a memo to police chiefs and law enforcement agencies instructing them that they “may not take any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off duty.”
Under the new guidelines, police officers can however be screened for cannabis if they work or hold licenses regulated by the federal government, reported NJ’s app.com, in that cannabis remains illegal on a federal level.
Those who fall under this exception include officers who are assigned to a federal task force; hold a federally-regulated license that requires drug testing, such as a pilot license or commercial driver's license; work for a law enforcement agency that receives a federal contract or grant, which requires drug testing.
On-Duty Consumption Still Banned
Police officers remain barred from consuming cannabis while on duty, but according to Platkin’s memo, a weed-tainted urine test would not serve as cause for firing, reported Police1.com at the time it was issued.
"To be clear, there should be zero tolerance for cannabis use, possession or intoxication while performing the duties of a law enforcement officer," Platkin said at the time. But off the clock, officers can do what they like regarding the consumption of legal cannabis so long as they are 21 or above.
New Jersey cannabis sales began on April 21, 2022.