A new lawsuit from two Jersey City police officers who were fired for testing positive for marijuana says that the city’s policy of punishing law enforcement for off-duty cannabis use—which defies a state-level policy—is merely an effort by Mayor Steven M. Fulop (D) to “win over more conservative voters needed for his gubernatorial campaign.”
Off-Duty Cannabis Use
Norhan Mansour is the cop at the center of the commission’s decision. According to court documents, she was chosen for a random drug test on Sept. 20, 2022, that turned up positive for cannabis (this was five months after the state’s recreational cannabis market opened). During a disciplinary hearing in November, she conceded that she had ingested cannabis gummies the night before the test, and afterward she was fired, the documents show.
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin issued guidelines that allow law enforcement officers to use recreational cannabis while off duty as long as it doesn’t hurt on-the-job performance. But first responders are still not clear on the details.
“There’s so many uncertainties now that we still don’t have answers to,” said Steve McConlogue, who heads the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey. He advises that nobody should come to work impaired by any substance.
But on an adjacent green, eye-catching wall is his new world. There’s an old propaganda poster, from the “reefer madness” era, that describes marijuana as “a vicious racket with its arms around your children” and portrays it as a green, devil-like figure wooing a woman with a joint dangling from her lips.
Jensen is in the middle of it all, trying to help the people from one half of his life realize the benefits of the other.
Norhan Mansour was fired well after Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis in New Jersey in 2021 (with sales beginning in April 2022). After the bill was signed, the Jersey City Police Department clarified that although cannabis was legal, police officers were prohibited from consuming cannabis when off the clock. Mansour was one of four officers who were terminated due to a positive THC test in June 2022, all of whom pursued a lawsuit in April 2023.
A Jersey City, New Jersey police officer was unlawfully fired over marijuana and must be reinstated with backpay, state officials said on Wednesday, adopting an administrative law judge’s earlier findings.
About two months after Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed the state’s cannabis legalization bill into law in 2021, the Jersey City Police Department announced a policy barring officers from using marijuana on or off duty. Norhan Mansour was among four officers who were later fired for testing positive for THC and proceeded to file suit challenging the termination.
Four Jersey City police officers plan to sue the city after they were suspended without pay for testing positive for cannabis use while they were off-duty.
The officers, who were not named, are asking to be reinstated with back pay, said their attorney, Peter Paris, NJ.com reported.
Paris maintained that the disciplinary actions, which were made against the men earlier this year, are contradictory to a directive by state Attorney General Matthew Platkin, who said off-duty officers are allowed to use cannabis.
The attorney general of New Jersey last week issued a new directive on drug testing requirements for law enforcement agencies, a necessary update following the launch of the state’s legal cannabis market earlier this year.
Matthew Platkin, who was confirmed as the state’s AG last month, said that following the opening of the regulated marijuana industry in April, “many law enforcement agencies delayed the random drug testing of officers under the AG Drug Testing Policy to allow time for additional guidance and clarity.”
When Ray Charles sang “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” he wasn’t exactly crooning to New Jersey’s lawyers, but now, well, they can if they want to (but not at work). The Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, recognizing the reality of state legalization of marijuana, recently decided in Opinion 744 that lawyers may use regulated cannabis—and operate or invest in regulated cannabis businesses—without violating ethical rules.
The Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics issued an opinion stating that New Jersey lawyers may use regulated cannabis, and may operate or invest in a regulated cannabis business, without violating the Rules of Professional Conduct.
The committee stated that its opinion stemmed from an inquiry on the use of regulated cannabis and multiple attorney ethics research hotline calls from New Jersey lawyers inquiring about the rules surrounding the operation of or investment in cannabis businesses.