The state of Arizona has revised a cannabis policy that prevented individuals who had consumed marijuana in the past from becoming police officers. Described by officials as a modernization of existing policy as laws and societal views on the drug continue to evolve, the move relaxes limits of past marijuana use for people who would like to join law enforcement. Presently, current rules disqualify applicants who have used marijuana during the three years prior to their application.
Additionally, applicants who have used cannabis more than 20 times in their lifetime or more than four times after the age of 21 are automatically rejected. Thus good, honorable people who would like to serve are turned down because they smoked a joint once or ate a cannabis-infused brownie years ago when they were younger. However, under the new rules, applicants will be subject to less stringent cannabis use limits.
Proposed by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) and approved unanimously by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, the new rules will only disqualify applicants if they’ve consumed marijuana during the past two years. Under the new rules, it won’t matter how many times an applicant has used cannabis nor what form they used it in.
Coupled with AZPOST’s announcement last year that officers could use CBD without fear of losing their jobs, this change marks the most significant shift in Arizona’s marijuana standards for law enforcement in almost 30 years. “As you can imagine, society has changed. Society’s view on the use of illegal drugs has changed, so we thought it was really important to take a look at that and make some changes,” says AZPOST Director Matt Giordano.
According to Giordano, pot standards haven’t been significantly updated since the early 1990s so it was time for an update, especially after receiving feedback from community members and hiring managers worried that the outdated rules had departments passing up good candidates. Approved this week by Republican Doug Ducye’s administration, the new rules won’t take effect until April 2021.
Although local law enforcement agencies will still be able to use more stringent pre-employment drug standards, Giordano argues that the new rules are meant to modernize hiring practices, not weaken them. “People would argue that we are lowering standards to become a peace officer. I would argue with that. We are modernizing the standards to meet the needs of the community in the State of Arizona.”
This change in policy is likely to win the applause of cannabis sector players like Pure Extract Technologies Inc. since the changes end one aspect of discrimination targeting people who have ever used marijuana.
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