PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The board that certifies all peace officers in the state has revised its rules on past marijuana use for applicants.

Today, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board's  proposed recommendations to relax past pot use was approved by the Governor's Regulatory Review Council. The new rules won't go into effect until April 2021.

According to AZPOST executive director Matt Giordano, the pre-employment pot standards haven't been significantly updated since the early 1990s. He said it was time for an update after feedback from community members and hiring managers worried the outdated rules had departments passing up good candidates.

"People would argue with that we are lowering standards to become a peace officer. I would argue with that," said Giordano. "We are modernizing the standards to meet the needs of the community in the state of Arizona."

The new approved AZPOST rules for past pot use to become a certified Arizona peace officer include:

  • The applicant cannot have used marijuana in the two years prior to applying
  • It doesn't matter how many times an applicant has used pot
  • There's no longer a cap of uses after the age of 21
  • This includes any form of marijuana regardless of how it was ingested.

The current rules set by AZ POST until the revised rules go into effect next year include:

  • Applicant cannot have used marijuana in three years prior to application
  • Applicant cannot have used marijuana more than 20 times total
  • Applicant cannot have used marijuana more than five times after the age of 21

Giordano explained society's outlook on marijuana use has change.

"What you see is you can drive in any direction and hit a state that has legal recreational marijuana. So these young men and women make decisions in college maybe in high school when they travel out of state... to take marijuana where it’s legal," he said. "However they come back to Arizona and want to become a peace officers and don't realize those actions they took that they believe to be legal somewhat equated to having a drink at a bar now we’re going to prohibit them from being a peace officer...it was just was time for us to address that."

AZPOST approved the changes in June, but started the revision process last year. Giordano explained AZPOST worked with ASU to conduct a survey involving 159 agencies in Arizona that employs peace officers.

These proposed changes just apply to the minimum requirements. Police agencies have the authority to add stricter measures.

 

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