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.
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.
An administrative law judge has ruled that Jersey City should reinstate a police officer fired after testing positive for cannabis, rejecting the city’s argument that federal statutes trump protections in state law.
Jersey City terminated the officer, Norhan Mansour, in April for violating the police department’s drug policy which prohibited the use of cannabis by officers both on and off the job.
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.
It has been two months since recreational marijuana became legal for people 21 and older in New Jersey. The legalization is causing some concern and confusion for police departments regarding officers who use pot, then test positive down the line. Officers say there needs to be some sort of legislation to protect officers to show if they are under the influence in real time.
One measure (S2518), sponsored by Sen. Robert Singer (R-Ocean), would amend the state’s recreational marijuana law to ban cannabis consumption for any employee who operates heavy machinery or uses weapons, or whose use of cannabis would “put the public at risk.” That would include any workers who operate tractors, dump trucks, excavators, and bulldozers, plus law enforcement officers.
State Sen. Michael Testa, R-Vineland, addressed the acting attorney general on the enforcement of cannabis laws as they apply to off-duty police officers. Testa stated that the use of cannabis by off-duty police officers could put New Jersey at risk of losing federal grant funding.
Platkin responded that “the [New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act] statute is remarkably specific about what employers can do to employees in terms of adverse employment action in terms of regulated cannabis off duty.”
New Jersey lawmakers 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.
The filing of the legislation comes amid a controversy over a document released by the state attorney general’s office last month that explained how New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis law currently allows police to use marijuana when they are not on the job.
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.