The attitude toward legalizing marijuana in Idaho is slowly shifting to the positive side. Idaho lawmakers approved a new rule for hiring police officers; specifically those that have used marijuana previously. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the new rule on January 25.
Police officers used to be disqualified for employment consideration if they had used marijuana within the previous 3 years, according to The Spokesman-Review. The new rule disqualifies applicants that have used marijuana in the last 12 months.
Not everyone is on-board with this decision. Victor McCraw from the Peace Officer Standards and Training organization argues that some law enforcement agencies may still use the higher standard for training (the limits before the amended rules). McCraw also says that recruitment has been an issue and surrounding states have legalized recreational and/or medical marijuana.
The Meridian Deputy Police Chief, Tracy Basterrechea, is not on-board with the changes. Chief Basterrechea said, “With the intense scrutiny that’s going on with law enforcement nationwide, it surprises me that we’re even looking at or even discussing that it was a good idea to lower standards just because we can open up an application pool.”
In response, McCraw said, “We don’t want this marijuana rule to hamstring us in getting the very best candidates. With this new rule change that agency head will be able to consider this new applicant. We’ll take a look at their entire behavior and take the very best applicant for the position. Not necessarily the only applicant that can meet our rules.”
Basterrechea responded with, “I can always give you the exception. It goes to their decision making. If you wanted to be a police officer you know what the requirements are, yet you chose to ignore those requirements and now you want somebody to grant you an exception to the rule.”
Additional rule changes reduce the time considered for consistent marijuana use. The old rule would disqualify applicants who used marijuana consistently within the last 5 years. The new rule takes two years off of that, meaning that an officer applicant could have smoked marijuana regularly more than 3 years ago and still be considered.