It is unlikely that New Jersey police officers will be banned from using recreational cannabis as legal sales begin this week in the Garden State.

New Jersey State Senate President Nick Scutari, D-Union, called regulating people's behavior when they are on their own time a "very dangerous slippery slope" and one he was "not willing to go down." Scutari made his comments during an event held at Rowan University.

That effectively kills any attempt to bar law enforcement from enjoying recreational cannabis when off-duty.

Gov. Phil Murphy indicated he was "open-minded" to talking about such a ban. Murphy said if there were "reasonable steps" to banning cannabis use for police and all first responders, he would "absolutely" consider it.

Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer, R-Gloucester, has already proposed such a prohibition, saying law enforcement need to be held to a higher standard.

"Our men and women in law enforcement have the responsibility to make life-altering decisions on a daily basis, for themselves, their partners, for the public," Sawyer said. "I want to trust that they are at their best when doing so.”

Democratic Senator Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, also proposed a "zero tolerance" policy for marijuana use for law enforcement.

Without Scutari's support, however, no ban would ever make it to Murphy's desk to be signed into law.

Before Murphy made his comments, Attorney General Matthew Platkin had already issued a memo to police agencies across the state.

The memo stated that departments "may not take any adverse action against any officers because they do or do not use cannabis off duty." That includes if officers test positive for weed use in drug screenings.

However, that does not mean they can come to work high or under the influence of any substance.

Murphy was clear on that when he spoke at an event on Monday, saying anyone who showed up for work impaired "would be dealt with aggressively."

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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The 2002-2003 New Jersey Nets: The last time the NBA Finals came through NJ

In 2012 the Nets made their Brooklyn debut, but before that, New Jersey was the home of the Nets dating back to 1977.

The franchise was born in 1967, under the name the New Jersey Americans. They played their games in Teaneck as part of the American Basketball Association. One year later they moved to Long Island, becoming the New York Nets.

It was there the team won two ABA championships in 1973-74 and 1975-76. The very next year the Nets, along with three other basketball franchises, were absorbed into the NBA as part of a merger deal, abolishing the ABA. 

When the Nets first moved to New Jersey, they played their home games at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway. Then in 1981, they moved into the home many of us remember them in the most, the Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford (later named the Continental Airlines Arena, then Izod center). 

After years of losing, The Nets made it to two straight NBA Finals in 2001-02 and 2002-03. In 2002-03, the final time they sniffed the championship, the team lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

It would be the last time the Nets sniffed the title, but their efforts added them to New Jersey lore forever.

New Jersey's new legislative districts for the 2020s

Boundaries for the 40 legislative districts for the Senate and Assembly elections of 2023 through 2029, and perhaps 2031, were approved in a bipartisan vote of the Apportionment Commission on Feb. 18, 2022. The map continues to favor Democrats, though Republicans say it gives them a chance to win the majority.

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