New Mexico Cops Are Failing Drug Tests Due to CBD
Officers are blaming over-the-counter CBD products for their failed pot screenings.
Published on February 28, 2020

As America’s CBD industry continues to grow at breakneck speeds, inconsistencies in production and product testing have frequently resulted in positive screenings for THC among regular users. But what happens when legal CBD use results in failed drug tests for law enforcement officers?

According to New Mexico’s KOAT News, that’s exactly what’s happening in the Albuquerque Police Department, with ranking officers blaming over-the-counter CBD products for local cops’ failed pot tests.

“You'll have a police officer go to their doctor and their doctor will tell them, 'You should try CBD. You should try this as an ailment to your back pain or to the surgery you had two years ago,’” ABQPD spokesperson Shaun Willoughby told KOAT. “We have experienced it in our department and we've had individuals negatively impacted.”

To qualify as federally legal, all hemp-derived CBD products must contain 0.3% THC or less. But since the cannabidiol industry is still lacking formal government oversight, CBD products sold at health stores and gas stations often contain more THC than the labels claim.

“There is no communication from the government to their city employees, no matter who they work for, to tell them this could get you in trouble, in fact, it could get you fired,” Willoughby said.

But while most Americans have had a rather difficult time explaining the false-positives caused by CBD, the Albuquerque PD has taken a more lenient route, with no mention of any official punishment for officers who recently failed THC tests. 

Local police union representatives have reached out to city officials in hopes of clarifying the department’s stance on over-the-counter CBD use. But those efforts have so far fallen on deaf ears, with no changes to the city employee drug policy since 2013.

For now, Willoughby said that the Albuquerque PD will officially treat CBD as most other American companies do — with employees responsible for the risk. As for what punishments — if any — will befall officers who fail department THC tests, that is still yet to be seen.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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