True Crime & Law Podcast
July 22, 2022

New Jersey Law Allows Off-Duty Cops to Smoke Cannabis

New Jersey Law Allows Off-Duty Cops to Smoke Cannabis

The state has already legalized marijuana, but lawmakers are considering amending the law to exempt certain safety-sensitive occupations from using the drug. 

Off-duty cops allowed to use cannabis
Off-duty cops in the Garden State can now smoke pot when they're off-duty. 

Police chiefs and municipal leaders have opposed the law, citing a number of foreseeable issues. (Cannabis discussion with Middle Township, NJ Police Chief, Chris Leusner.) 

The New Jersey State Policeman's Benevolent Association, the state's largest police union, says it expects officers to fight disciplinary actions based on marijuana use in arbitration and legal challenges. But the association still advises caution. Its members should not use marijuana at work, for example.

A positive test for cannabis use only means that a person has previously used cannabis. There is no measure for impairment. 


Law prohibiting employers from punishing employees for marijuana use
Employers are not allowed to punish or deny employment to applicants and employees based on their marijuana use, according to a new law.

This law protects employees who are using marijuana while off the job. It also prevents employers from discriminating against people who use marijuana in a medically-recognized form. New Jersey's law allows employers to set up and implement a drug-free workplace policy.

But, when the employees in question are police officers, the conversation becomes more nuanced.

While marijuana testing is still permitted in New Jersey, the law does not allow employers to take adverse action based on a positive test. This limits the usefulness of random and pre-employment drug tests, so employers should proceed with caution and seek legal counsel before implementing such policies.


For criminal defense in Ocean City, Margate, Sea Isle, and South Jersey, visit the Law Office of Meghan McCormick Hoerner at 

This website is not a source of legal advice. Every case and jurisdiction is different. Contact an attorney if you require legal advice.

For more information on cannabis legalization in New Jersey, click to visit the NJ Criminal Podcast Season 4 - Cannabis Series.