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Because they consumed marijuana they cannot legally own a gun under federal law, which makes them unsuitable for service, the city argued.
“Despite what the attorney general says, despite what the constitution says, despite what the statute says, it doesn’t apply to us.’
byNina Zdinjak, Benzinga Staff Writer
April 25, 2023 11:11 AM | 2 min read
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Four New Jersey police officers were recently fired after testing positive for marijuana, even though they deny consuming it while on duty.
Now, these ex-officers, who want to stay anonymous, are pushing for reinstatement, filing their petitions before the Civil Service Commission, reported Jersey City Times.
According to the officers’ lawyer, Peter Paris, Jersey City is not claiming the officers have used cannabis or have appeared impaired while at work. Instead, the city is claiming that they shouldn’t use marijuana at all, as these are the department's orders. This comes as a surprise considering that 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.” See Also: We Take It Back! NYPD To Continue Testing Officers For Cannabis, Despite Conflicting Orders From Law Department Officers on duty are banned from weed consumption, but as per Platkin’s memo, a positive cannabis test shouldn’t necessarily jeopardize an officer's job.
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The city claims that because the officers consumed marijuana, they cannot legally own a gun under federal law, which makes them unsuitable for service. It is important to note that Jersey City is one of a few police departments that demand its officers buy their own guns. “They’re saying that despite what the attorney general says, despite what the constitution says, despite what the statute says, in Jersey City, because we make you buy a gun, it doesn’t apply to us,” Paris said. Citing federal law to uphold the firings is tricky, considering that “everything about legal cannabis un
der the New Jersey Constitution…is technically unlawful under federal law," the attorney added.
If the petition for reinstatement goes through, the officers will obtain back pay, according to Paris.