PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Even though recreational use for marijuana is now legal, Arizona's Family is learning it's still hands-off pot for officers. The state's two largest law enforcement agencies confirmed they won't let them use it.
The Department of Public Safety and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office are not allowing their troopers and deputies to use the plant, even on their days off. The agencies are going by federal law, not state law.
"This is America. We pride ourselves on freedom and individuality," said Jonathan Udell, communications director for Arizona NORML, a pro-marijuana group who helped with the passage of Prop 207.
"In my view, so long as someone is participating in a lawful activity, causing no harm to anyone else," said Udell, "or afflicting their abilities, there's no reason to restrict someone from doing something like that." Udell said marijuana use on an officer's own time doesn't affect their duties.
"The intoxicating effects of marijuana wear off after a number of hours," said Udell. "There's no science showing that you would be intoxicated or impaired the following day."
Criminal defense attorney Jason Lamm represents police officers.
"Any police officer who has the pipe dream of smoking marijuana legally now that Prop. 207 is passed is in for a real buzzkill when they look at federal law," said Lamm.
Lamm said rolling up will stop short at the ATF.
"The ATF is very specific that if you possess a firearm as a police officer or just as an ordinary citizen, you can't use controlled substances and marijuana is a controlled substance under the federal law," said Lamm.
In addition, the board that certifies Arizona police officers, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, still rules marijuana as a violation. In October, AZPOST made drastic changes to their process. An aspiring officer cannot consume marijuana two years prior to application. However, there is a six-month waiting period instead of three years, that change takes effect in April.
Right now the rule requires three years between last use and application. The new rule will require two years between last use and application. The rule change process requires a six month waiting period before new rules take effect. The new rule will take effect the first week in April as the rule update was approved in October (six months).
Smoking weed may expose you to the same type of toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke, a new study finds.
"I would urge them to listen to the people paying their wages," said Udell. Like Prop. 207, Udell hopes law enforcement agencies will listen to the will of the people.
"I would urge them to listen. The times are changing and it's better to be on the right side of history then the wrong side," said Udell.
Editor's Note: Arizona's Family has updated this article to clarify the information from the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board (ASPOST).