Can Oregon first responders use legal pot? - KPTV - FOX 12

Can Oregon first responders use legal pot?

Posted: Updated: Jun 29, 2015 11:06 PM
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon on Wednesday, but that doesn't clear the way for everyone to light up.

Fox 12 reached out to several local public safety agencies to find out what the new law means for their employees.

Spokespersons for the agencies who responded said the new law is not prompting changes.

Portland Police Bureau officers are still prohibited from using marijuana because it is still federally illegal, according to PPB spokesman Pete Simpson.

He said the PPB has had random drug testing for several years and has no plans to stop.

Marijuana use will remain banned for officers the Hillsboro Police Department, according to a spokesman.

Marijuana is still a prohibited substance for employees subjected to drug testing in Clackamas County. Sheriff's deputies there can be tested for drugs if there is any suspicion of drug use, according to spokesman Sgt. Nate Thompson.

A spokesman for the Portland Fire Bureau said their policy has not changed.

The fire bureau's policy is that firefighters must not report to work while his or her ability to perform their job is impaired due to illegal drugs, legal drugs or alcohol use, on or off duty, said Lt. Rich Tyler.

The state Supreme Court has ruled that even a medical marijuana patient could be fired for off-the-job use of marijuana, primarily because of the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, according to the ACLU of Oregon.

In a statement, the ACLU of Oregon said they view workplace drug testing as a generally unfair practice.

“It is also a significant invasion of privacy, which is designed to detect and punish conduct that is usually engaged in off-duty and off the employer's premises,” the statement read.

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