No pot for cops: State council rules police officers may not own marijuana shops

Published: May. 18, 2017 at 3:49 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Pot may be legal, but that doesn’t mean cops can sell it.

That was the ruling earlier this month by the Alaska Police Standards Council, an agency that oversees officers and prison guards and has the power to revoke their professional certifications.

The council voted unanimously May 3 to ban police from “owning or operating a marijuana business," citing the ongoing federal ban on the drug. Council director Bob Griffiths said the matter needed to be addressed as the fledgling marijuana business takes hold in Alaska.

Voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. Retail sale began in late 2016.

Despite legalization, many employers still forbid workers from using marijuana. At the Anchorage Police Department, officers and other department employees must pass a drug test upon hire and again if they are promoted, are involved in a car crash or if they are suspected of using the drug, a spokeswoman said.

“In light of Alaskans’ proud entrepreneurial spirit, the council felt it may be only a matter of time before a certified officer considered pursuing a license to possess, distribute, or cultivate marijuana in Alaska,” Griffiths said today in a written statement.

“The council decided to send a loud and clear message to those officers considering such an endeavor, that this activity was inconsistent with the ethics of professional law enforcement and is prohibited under current state regulations,” Griffiths wrote.

Under the ruling, any certified police officer found to be operating a marijuana business will lose their ability to work for a police department or in other law enforcement roles across the state.