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NJ Governor Wants To Change Law To Ban Cops From Smoking Weed

Trenton, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he was considering putting the kibosh on marijuana usage by off-duty law enforcement officers in the state just a few days after the state attorney general gave the okay.

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin issued a memo to police chiefs at agencies across the state on April 14 that said off-duty law enforcement officers were permitted to use marijuana under the new recreational marijuana law, the Asbury Park Press reported.

The law is slated to go into effect on April 21.

Platkin told the chiefs in the memo that they “may not take any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off duty” under the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act, the Asbury Park Press reported.

He said officers are still banned from using or possession marijuana on duty.

“To be clear, there should be zero tolerance for cannabis use, possession or intoxication while performing the duties of a law enforcement officer,” the attorney general clarified. “And there should be zero tolerance for unregulated marijuana consumption by officers at any time, on or off duty, while employed in this state.

“The safety of our communities and our officers demands no less,” he added.

Lawmakers across the state reacted almost immediately to the new attorney general’s edict, the New York Post reported.

New Jersey State Senator Paul Sarlo said he objected because it opened up officers to potential liability.

“As Mayor & Pro Law Enforcement Senator I respectfully disagree w/ directives to allow off-duty police officers to smoke weed,” Sarlo tweeted. “With cannabis remaining in one’s system for 30 days; police will subject themselves to never ending lawsuits & questioning of their judgements.”

The New Jersey governor weighed in on the matter on April 16 and said he was considering a “legislative fix” that would prohibit law enforcement officers from using marijuana off-duty, the New York Post reported.

Murphy said that any officer who showed up to work “impaired” would be aggressively disciplined.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) banned its officers from using marijuana after the state passed recreational marijuana laws in 2021, the New York Post reported.

The memo Platkin sent out to police chiefs said that flunking a urine test was no longer sufficient grounds to terminate an officer.

The attorney general appeared beside the governor to address questions, the New York Post reported.

“The governor mentioned that we’re not inventing marijuana,” Platkin said. “And we’ve provided guidance to law enforcement about how to handle, whether it be a stop or a search. And I think the overarching thing that we want to make sure that people understand is public safety continues to be at the forefront here.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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