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Police commissioner reviews marijuana policy, wants to make it easier for new applicants

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Posted at 11:35 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 06:39:10-04

A lot of kids grow up dreaming to become a police officer. It's a courageous and challenging job, but it can be hard to get in. 

Baltimore police commissioner Kevin Davis wants to make it easier. Right now, if candidates smoked pot more than 20 times in their life or more than three times since they turned 21, they can't be officers in the state of Maryland. 

"Having an unscientific standard for marijuana use to be a police officer in Maryland simply doesn't make sense," Davis said.

Davis is part of the Police Training and Standards Commission, which is looking into changing the recruitment standards for past marijuana use as it relates to prospective officers. 

"It's the only place in the application process that I can't apply discretion to," Davis said. "What we want to do, we want to be consistent with other states and we want to be consistent with other states and we want to be consistent with the FBI."

The FBI only requires that applicants haven't used marijuana within the last three years. Davis said Maryland's current policy eliminates candidates who would be attracted to policing.

"That's exactly what I want to change with the Maryland rules," he said. "So nothing within three years, no marijuana whatsoever and then we'll ask you about your prior marijuana use."

Davis stressed that he wants and expects transparency.

"We want to know about the drug use and any police applicant's background investigation, but we don't want some artificial number to be a death sentence," Davis said. "We want to attract people who have lived a life and have had experience that will not be unlike the lives and experiences of the people who they're going to come into contact with as a police officer."

Davis said he hopes to get this policy reviewed and maybe even changed within the next couple of weeks. 

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