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State Law Allows Police To Consume Marijuana When Off Duty

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State Law Allows Police To Consume Marijuana When Off Duty

A New Jersey attorney has revealed the state's new marijuana laws will allow off-duty police officers to buy and smoke cannabis.

On Thursday, 14 April – under the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance law and Marketplace Modernization Act, which was passed last year – Attorney General Matthew Platkin reinforced the code to law enforcement agencies that they are prohibited from taking 'any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off duty'.

Subsequently, once marijuana becomes officially legal to sell in the state, the law will allow police officers in New Jersey to purchase and consume it like any other customer.

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However, Platkin reiterated that, understandably, officers can't be under the influence or consume it on the job, Asbury Park Press reports.

He said: "To be clear, there should be zero tolerance for cannabis use, possession or intoxication while performing the duties of a law enforcement officer.

"And there should be zero tolerance for unregulated marijuana consumption by officers at any time, on or off duty, while employed in this state.

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"The safety of our communities and our officers demands no less."

US Police officers are allowed to buy and smoke marijuana while off duty under state law. Credit: Alamy
US Police officers are allowed to buy and smoke marijuana while off duty under state law. Credit: Alamy

Seven alternative treatment centres (ATCs), including 13 retail dispensaries, were given the green light to begin selling legal weed to anyone over the age of 21 by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) from Thursday, 21 April, and buyers won't need a medical marijuana card.

NR-CRC executive director Jeff Brown stated: "This is an exciting time for New Jersey. New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly to have access to adult-use cannabis and it is now here. I am very proud of the work the Commission has done over the past year to open the market. We have been intentional and deliberate to do everything in our power to set the market on good footing to start."

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However, the 13 dispensaries haven't yet been inspected or issued with a license, and so legal weed sales can't yet commence. Currently, the drug is still illegal to buy or sell, but legal to possess and consume.

US police may be able to purchase and consume marijuana off duty in new state law, but on a federal level it remains illegal. Credit: Alamy
US police may be able to purchase and consume marijuana off duty in new state law, but on a federal level it remains illegal. Credit: Alamy

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance law and Marketplace Modernisation Act states that companies can test their employees if they suspect them of being under the influence while on the job. This includes the police force.

Platkin explained: "Should there be reasonable suspicion of an officer's use of cannabis while engaged in the performance of their duties, or upon finding any observable signs of intoxication related to cannabis use (including following a work-related accident subject to investigation by the agency), that officer may be required to undergo a drug test."

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The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can remain in the bloodstream for weeks, so a physical examination is also required.

Despite the new law, unlike other organisations, federal regulations also apply to police officers, who have sworn an oath to abide by them. On a federal level, marijuana – even medically – remains illegal.

If you want friendly, confidential advice about drugs, you can talk to FRANK. You can call 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or contact through their website 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, or livechat from 2pm-6pm any day of the week 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Drugs, US News, Police

Poppy Bilderbeck
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