Maryland Police Chief Says Rule Against Cannabis Use Is Bad for Recruiting

The police chief for Montgomery County, Maryland said a state rule that bans police recruits from having used cannabis for at least three years before applying is bad for the state’s law enforcement recruitment opportunities.

Full story after the jump.

Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said that a state rule requiring law enforcement recruits to have abstained from cannabis use for at least three years before they can be hired hurts the state’s police recruitment opportunities, according to a News4 report.

Chief Jones, who is also the head of the Fraternal Order of Police and a Montgomery County Council Member, asked the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission in a letter last year to revise the regulations.

“I think in today’s environment, where we are with the legalization of cannabis, that has now restricted law enforcement agencies, particularly larger agencies, across the state.” — Chief Jones, via News4

Montgomery County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard said in the report that making off-duty use of a legal drug into a “barrier” for growing law enforcement agencies around the state seems like “a bad policy.”

The commission has said it would investigate the issue.

Many states with legalization laws have enacted policies to prevent employers from refusing to hire someone based on their past cannabis use but those policies are frequently not extended to safety-sensitive positions including law enforcement, other first responders, and any position requiring federal security clearance.

In nearby New Jersey, the state attorney general ruled last year that police officers were allowed to consume cannabis while off-duty. That policy sparked a federal lawsuit in October from the public safety director for Jersey City which argued that because federal law prohibits anyone who uses a federally controlled substance from possessing firearms, the city cannot employ any officers who consume cannabis.

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