Phil Murphy says he’s ‘open’ to banning off-duty cops from using marijuana

Pot so fast.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says he may try to put the kibosh on off-duty police officers in the state smoking marijuana when recreational weed sales begin there Thursday.

Murphy floated the notion of a possible ban to reporters Monday, adding that he’d be open to a legislative solution to bring about it, video shows.

“Would I be open-minded to a legislative fix that would address this? Murphy said – about a week after the state’s attorney general told police chiefs throughout the state that they may not take “adverse actions” against cops who smoke pot while off the clock.

“The answer is yes,” the governor continued.

Murphy’s remarks also came after state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) tweeted Friday that New Jersey should prohibit off-duty cops from getting high on pot, arguing that cannabis stays in users’ bodies for 30 days and could subject officers to lawsuits questioning their judgment.

Gov. Phil Murphy is open to the ban, but has not declared if he will pursue it.
AP / Seth Wenig

“I am hopeful we can modify the law to match all the other states that have zero tolerance for use of off-duty cannabis by police,” the lawmaker wrote.

NYPD honchos have said they do not want their officers to go pot – forbidding marijuana use among off-duty cops despite the drug’s legalization in the Empire State last year.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Marijuana
Lawmakers question if officers could be subject to lawsuits questioning their judgment if marijuana is in their system.
AP / Julio Cortez

Murphy, who was speaking at an unrelated public event in Ewing, said any officer who showed up to work “impaired” would be dealt with aggressively.

“There’s no allowing anybody to show up impaired, whether you’re drinking, whether you’ve smoked weed, whatever the reason,” Murphy said. “That has always been the case, and it will continue to be the case.”

New Jersey’s top law enforcement official, acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin, sent a memo last week to police chiefs telling them to let their off-duty officers smoke weed if the cops wanted.

Marijuana
In Nov. 2020, NJ voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing recreational sales of marijuana to people 21 and older.
AP / Julio Cortez

“An employee shall not be subject to any adverse action by an employer solely due to the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the employee’s bodily fluid,” the memo reads.

The memo also added that a weed-tainted urine test is not sufficient grounds for firing an officer.

Platkin joined Murphy at the press conference, telling reporters that the rules pertaining to law enforcement and marijuana use have been in effect for more than a year.

Belmar Police
New Jersey acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin told police chiefs that they may not take actions against cops who smoke pot while off the clock.
AP / Matt Rourke

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

In November 2020, voters in Garden State approved a constitutional amendment allowing recreational sales of marijuana to people 21 and older. Sales at a handful of locations will begin Thursday.

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