Prospective Officers Face Rule Change Regarding Marijuana Use

The Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission voted to approve changes to state policy regarding prior use of marijuana by prospective police officers. The rule change would ease restrictions on how much of the drug a potential officer may have consumed prior to being hired.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

The new rule, which received final approval from the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission on Wednesday, bars the hiring of any prospective officers who have smoked marijuana in the past three years. It replaces a state policy dating to the 1970s that had disqualified police applicants who had used marijuana more than 20 times in their lives, or five times since turning 21 years old.

The rule was reviewed by the Office of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. It takes effect June 1.

The training and standards commission, part of the state corrections department, regulates police hiring in the state. The panel voted 16-1 to approve the change, spokesman Gerard Shields said.

The commission had recommended the change at its inaugural meeting in October. A legal review and a public comment period followed. Officials said they received no comments.

The new rule allows individual police chiefs to hold applicants to their agencies to a stricter marijuana standard if they choose, officials said.

While the move would help jurisdictions such as Baltimore City where Police Commissioner Kevin Davis strongly supported the change, it is not without opposition. The article notes that Vince Canales, president of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, was the lone vote in opposition to the change citing the illegality of marijuana at the federal level and the uncertainty of state laws regarding the drug.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.