Connect with us


California Police Commission Removes Marijuana Questions From Application Forms For Law Enforcement In Response To New Law



California law enforcement officials are revising employment policies for police officers to remove questions about job applicants’ prior marijuana use in accordance with a bill the governor signed in October.

The law, which builds on previously enacted cannabis employment protections, formally takes effect on January 1. But in advance of the effective date, the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training said in a memo last week that it’s proactively amended application forms to adhere to the new policy.

In addition to prohibiting discrimination against most workers who use cannabis off-duty, the law “makes it unlawful for an employer to request information from an applicant relating to their prior use of cannabis,” the commission said.

As such, several forms “have been modified to remove inquiries about a candidate’s prior cannabis use,” the memo says.

The forms previously asked candidates whether they’ve used any illicit drugs in the past six months or in their lifetime, but now contain revised language that says there’s no need to answer the question if the only substance was cannabis.

Job applicants for peace officer positions in the state must still disclose information about prior convictions, including those that involved cannabis, the commission said.

The California memo was released after Nevada officials adopted a proposal to amend hiring standards for police officers to allow job candidates who were previously disqualified for certain marijuana-related offenses to now be eligible for law enforcement positions.

The Nevada Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training voted to approve the change, revising regulations around hiring that currently prevent a person from becoming a peace officer if they have been convicted of an offense involving the unlawful use, sale or possession of a controlled substance.

Relatedly, after a Las Vegas police officer was fired for testing positive for THC metabolites in 2019, he sued the department, and a district judge ruled in 2021 that the zero-tolerance policy for cannabis was “untenable,” while agreeing with the plaintiff that state statute protects employees’ lawful use of marijuana outside of work.

In New Jersey, meanwhile, two Jersey City police officers who were fired for testing positive for marijuana recently filed lawsuits arguing 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 the mayor to “win over more conservative voters needed for his gubernatorial campaign.”

The mayor had announced in April that the city would terminate officers who tested positive for THC despite guidance from the state’s attorney general not to test officers for off-duty cannabis use.

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin (D) released a memo last year asserting that the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey meant agencies couldn’t penalize officers for off-duty cannabis use. Some lawmakers, like Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D), signaled that they would seek to pass legislation to address the issue. Others, such as Senate President Nick Scutari (D), said that they wanted to preserve the off-duty carve-out.

Nebraska’s Crime Commission is separately exploring whether it will loosen cannabis rules for police recruits, despite Gov. Jim Pillen (R) rejecting proposals to enact the employment reform.

Missouri Expunges 100,000 Cannabis Offenses In First Year Of Legalization, Even As Some Courts Miss Deadline

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.