In Arizona, police aren’t allowed to consume marijuana, recreationally or medicinally, so some of Jacobs’ former colleagues can’t partake like he can. Jacobs thinks more states should follow New Jersey’s lead. Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin reminded law enforcement chiefs recently that the New Jersey law allowing for recreational marijuana permits cops to consume it off duty.
As marijuana activists nationally celebrate — they say the law will remove the stigma around cannabis and allow cops to better understand the drug — some towns in the Garden State are saying, no way. Officials in Jersey City, Wood-Ridge, Toms River, Kearny, Woodland Park, and elsewhere said they are barring local police from using cannabis, on or off duty.
As a growing number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle echo those concerns, Gov. Phil Murphy, who signed the state’s recreational marijuana law four years after pledging to make cannabis legal, has said he’s “open-minded” about revising the law to carve out police officers.
Nationwide, experts said the conflict between federal law that makes marijuana an illegal substance and the rising number of states that have legalized it has created some murky territory — though they couldn’t point to any incidents that back up the claim by some New Jersey mayors that permitting cannabis use would endanger public safety.
People like Jacobs think cannabis, when used off duty, helps police officers.
“This could be a disservice by putting more laws and restrictions on something that’s really there to help people, as long as it’s used in a safe and responsible way,” Jacobs said.