As the availability of legal pot approaches this week, here is one of the many questions about New Jersey's legalization of recreational marijuana you may not have considered.

Will it be legal for New Jersey police officers to use recreational weed when they are off-duty?

The answer, according to a memo from acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin is yes they can.

That doesn't necessarily mean he is in favor of them doing it, though.

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

Platkin issued the memo Thursday, April 14 to police chiefs that they “may not take any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off duty, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The state’s new marijuana legalization laws give employers the right to maintain a drug-free workplace and outline procedures for suspected drug use on the job.

If a police officer is suspected of being high or using marijuana on duty, the officer could be required to take a drug test, Platkin said in his memo. The drug test must also include a physical examination because THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can stay in the body for weeks.

Recreational marijuana became legal to consume and possess in New Jersey last year, but it hasn’t yet been available for purchase. That will change Thursday, April 21 when a half-dozen medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to open to all adults over 21.

13 medical marijuana dispensaries have been approved to sell weed to those without a medical marijuana card.

The law enforcement website police1.com says the idea of police officers using marijuana while off-duty would be a huge mistake.

Any graduate of law school who passes the bar has got to be salivating at the chance to place innuendo and doubt in an officer’s credibility if they answer, “Yes, I smoke weed on my days off.” How does the jury/Judge truly know if the officer was “drug-free” at the time of the contact with the defendant?

 

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