First responders seek clarity on recreational marijuana rules
Firefighters and EMS workers across New Jersey are expressing frustration over a lack of clear guidelines regulating their recreational use of marijuana when off duty.
Unlike law enforcement, first responders say there is no detailed policy governing cannabis use among fire and emergency personnel in the state. This has created uncertainty around what is legally permissible.
“Our attorneys warned us don’t be the test case,” said Steve McConlogue, president of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ). “Don’t be the first one.”
While emphasizing that no one should work impaired, McConlogue said there is no consensus on how to determine impairment, since cannabis can remain in the bloodstream long after its effects wear off.
Currently, individual fire departments have their own drug and alcohol policies that vary. The firefighters association is urging state officials to develop a uniform set of rules.
“We need guidance documents prepared that says, here’s how cannabis affects a person, how long it lasts,” McConlogue said.
Questions also remain around policies for volunteer emergency responders.