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AZ's police oversight board wants to change how long recruits must be marijuana-free

The oversight body for police in Arizona has a rule that aspiring officers can not have used marijuana for at least two years before they start academy training.

The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board wants to shrink the timeframe to six months.

Arizona legalized marijuana for adults years ago. Now 20-somethings who want to become a police officer are not likely to see as wrong using cannabis they bought in a dispensary licensed by the state.

“And these young men and women say, ‘I’m not waiting two years. I’m going to do something different. I’m going to go get a different job.’ And we lose a lot of what I believe to be really good men and women who would be wonderful police officers,” said Matt Giordano, executive director of the police standards and training board.

Final approval of a six-month no-marijuana use standard will be up to a review council in the governor’s office.

There’s no similar standard for alcohol use.

“I just don’t think society, and I also don’t think police leaders in the state of Arizona, are quite ready to make that connection that they are the same,” Giordano said.

He added that most law enforcement agencies ask about recruits’ drinking habits to screen for signs of abuse.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.