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Ending cannabis prohibition in New Jersey won 67.1% voter support in the November 2020 election, but state lawmakers are now trying to scale back that reform.
Earlier this month, Congressman Edward Thomson and Congresswoman Beth Sawyer, both Republicans, introduced a bill, Assembly Bill 3870, which seeks to allow employers to ban the use of cannabis to certain employees, even when they are not working.
Under the proposed legislation, an employer must prohibit the personal use of cannabis by the following employees:
- Anyone who operates heavy machinery;
- Anyone who uses weapons;
- Anyone whose use would put the public in serious danger; and
- Law enforcement officers.
“This bill amends the Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Market Modernization Act (CREAMM) to prohibit certain categories of employees from personal recreational cannabis use,” according to a statement from the sponsors. “Specifically, this bill allows an employer to prohibit any use of cannabis if the person uses heavy machinery or weapons, or whose use of cannabis would endanger the public. In addition, this bill allows employers of law enforcement officers to prohibit the use of cannabis.
All employees prohibited from using cannabis under the legislation would be subject to the employer’s policies regarding drug testing.
The legislation is just one of three bills introduced this month that attempt to restrict the use of cannabis outside of work by some workers.
Congressman Louis Greenwald and Congressman Annette Chaparro, both Democrats, are sponsoring AB 3914, which would allow law enforcement to ban recreational cannabis use by law enforcement.
And Democratic Congresswoman Gabriela Mosquera, who signed on as a co-sponsor of AB 3914, introduced her own legislation, AB 3868, which seeks to ban paid first responders from engaging in the use of cannabis for medical purposes. recreational.
These bill filings followed state Attorney General Matt Platkin, who issued a memo on April 13 to law enforcement officials reminding them that New Jersey law allows police officers to consume cannabis when not in use – a memo that came just before the state’s April 21 launch of adult-use sales New Jersey Monitor reported last month.
“To be clear, there should be zero tolerance for the use, possession or intoxication of cannabis while performing the duties of a law enforcement officer,” Platkin said. “And there should be zero tolerance for the unregulated use of marijuana by officers at any time, on or off duty, while employed in this state.”
Sawyer — who is sponsoring the bill to limit cannabis use by law enforcement and those who use weapons or heavy machinery — took issue with Platkin’s memo, specifically saying cannabis remains illegal federally. as the reason for his opposition to the directive in his memo.
“Anyone who wants to work in public safety must be held to higher standards,” the MP said in a statement. “Our men and women in law enforcement have a responsibility to make life-changing decisions every day, for themselves, their partners, for the public. I want to trust that they are at their best when they The Attorney General’s directive on CREAMMA leaves much to be desired.
Sawyer and Thomson’s legislation was referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, as were the other two bills.