Police and some workers may not be able to look forward to legal recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey.
Lawmakers in the state have introduced a series of bills meant to empower employers to punish workers—including law enforcement and other first responders specifically— from using marijuana off duty in compliance with state law.
It was last month that a document was released by the state attorney general’s office that explained how New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis law currently allows police to use marijuana when they are not on the job.
Three new bills that generally seek to impose restrictions on such activity for select employees.
Rep. Louis Greenwald (D) has introduced a measure that is seeking to amendment state statute to permit law enforcement agencies to penalize police for cannabis use, conduct random drug tests for marijuana and refuse to hire applicants due to lawful cannabis use.
According to the state’s top prosecutor, law enforcement agencies are barred from taking adverse action against officers who use marijuana as long as such use is compliant with the recreational legalization law that was implemented last month.
Unlike the police-specific bill from Greenwald, the full text of two other pieces of legislation are not yet available, but their titles clarify the intent.
The description of one of those proposals reads: “Permits employer to prohibit use of cannabis by certain employees.” It’s unclear what kind of workers would be subject to the broad prohibition.
The other says: “Prohibits paid first responders from engaging in recreational use of cannabis items.” The language seems to go further than simply authorizing employers to punish workers who use marijuana by flatly banning such activity under state law.