Lafayette, LA – A Lafayette police officer who was fired after he flunked a drug test because he’d used sleep drops that contained CBD hemp oil got his job back with backpay, on Tuesday.
The problem occurred when Lafayette Police Officer Bernard Anderson was involved in a car wreck on duty last Christmas Eve, The Acadiana Advocate reported.
Officer Anderson flunked the mandatory post-crash drug test and then also failed a retest of his urine sample.
Both came back positive for marijuana metabolites, the chemical substances created by the body breaking down the drug in the system, The Acadiana Advocate reported.
It turned out that the test was a result of Officer Anderson’s usage of a CBD sleep medication his wife had brought home from work.
Officer Anderson’s wife is a nurse, KLFY reported.
The officer was ultimately fired in June, in accordance with the Lafayette Consolidated Government’s zero-tolerance drug policy.
He appealed his termination to the Lafayette Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, The Acadiana Advocate reported.
“I have issues going to sleep and staying asleep. It’s always been like that. I started paying more attention to it when I joined the PD because obviously it’s a serious role and I don’t have the ability to slack on my alertness, and sleep is a major part of that,” the officer explained.
He argued that he had told the truth, he hadn’t used drugs, and he had only taken a CBD medication commonly available over the counter, KLFY reported.
“Bernard is a good officer,” his attorney, Allyson Melancon, told the board at the hearing on Dec. 21.
“He passed the CVAS test. He does not smoke marijuana. He took some sleep medication which is an herbal supplement you can buy at Drug Emporium and for that he lost his job,” Melancon explained.
Multiple board members were sympathetic to his plight and several suggested the city might be behind the times in its policies and testing, KLFY reported.
“With the technology that’s available with something as innocent as sleep drops,” Lafayette Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board Member Christina Olivier remarked.
She said the city “did not act in good faith and just cause” in the firing of Anderson, KLFY reported.
The board voted 3-to-1 to reinstate Officer Anderson on Dec. 21 and give him full backpay, The Acadiana Advocated reported.
His mother, who is a former police officer, said she was relieved by the board’s decision, KLFY reported.
His attorney said that Officer Anderson’s case opened up the door for more discussion on how to handle legal CBD use going forward.
“If the policy is going to be no CBD, then they just need to say that and they need to educate their employees you can’t take CBD. That’s the end of story,” Melancon told KLFY.