Law enforcement hopefuls all across Maryland who may have consumed marijuana in the past, could soon have the unique opportunity to protect and serve the good people of the Old Line state.
A special commission charged with hiring the state’s police force has recommended a change to a policy that disqualifies recruits with a history of marijuana use, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.
The article suggests that the Police Training and Standards Commission, which was put into place last year to keep a watchful eye on the state’s cops, wants to do away with a decades old rule that makes it impossible for applicants who have smoked marijuana five times since turning 21 years old, or 20 times in their lifetime, to become a uniformed police officer. The 24-member commission recently voted to change the policy to only apply to those who have consumed the herb within the past three years.
“Everyone has their own particular views of marijuana use, but this isn’t about anyone’s personal views,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who believes this action is necessary to lure in new recruits. “We have to do what’s right for the profession and what’s going on in America in 2016.”
The recommendation, which Davis says has the support of an “overwhelming majority” of the commission, will now be tossed into the ring for a series of public forums to gauge the overall interest of the average citizen. If all goes well, the proposal would then need to be reviewed by state officials before the policy could be amended.
As it stands, Davis says marijuana consumption is “the No. 1 disqualifier for police applicants in Baltimore.”
Needless to say, some law enforcement groups have some reservations about loosening the restrictions surrounding police officers and their pasts with pot. The Fraternal Order of Police, the Sun reports, is not at all in favor of making it easier for former stoners to become police officers.
But Davis says that since over half the nation has legalized the leaf for medicinal and recreational purposes, it has become necessary to change some of the anti-pot policies of the past.
“One of the points that I made to people is that we are losing some really good people from our profession because we are clinging to this defense that makes no sense,” he said.
Once the public has given its opinion on the matter, the proposal will then be forwarded to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The new rule will only be implemented as long as it receives the support of the agency’s secretary, Steve Moyer.
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