New Jersey identifying challenges for law enforcement should pot be legalized

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal testifies at Senate Budget Committee hearing. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal testifies at Senate Budget Committee hearing. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey’s top law enforcement official is preparing for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told lawmakers legalization would pose challenges for law enforcement.

“How do we assess drugged driving? What’s the metric for it? Do we have enough drug recognition experts to do this job? Do we have to train up our officers on field sobriety testing procedures? Do we have to have more education and prevention efforts?” he said during a Senate budget committee hearing Tuesday.

Grewal said law enforcement is also trying to understand how police dogs will operate because they’re not trained to differentiate between marijuana and other drugs.

He said the State Police has met with its counterparts in states that have legalized marijuana to see what’s worked.

Sen. Tony Bucco, R-Morris, is worried about the potential for accidents, such as if a worker at his adhesives manufacturing company eats a marijuana brownie at lunch.

“I have equipment that could be very dangerous and if there’s an accident or one of my employees happens to fall into one of the mixing tanks, I’m out of business,” he said. “I know OSHA will be in and close me down.”

Grewal expects employers will put restrictions in place similar to ones that prevent workers from showing up at work drunk.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy favors legalization of adult recreational marijuana use, but there’s no indication when the legislature might act on legislation to do that.

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