A Lafayette police officer will return to his job after failing a drug test, the Lafayette Police and Fire Service Commission has ruled.
Officer Bernard Anderson was fired in June for violating the illicit drug policy of the consolidated Lafayette government after his testing showed he had tested positive for the metabolite of marijuana.
He told Home Affairs investigators that he took a CBD supplement as a sleeping pill and that he had never ingested marijuana.
Because marijuana immediately begins to break down in the body, some drug labs choose to test for the metabolite of marijuana, which stays in the system longer and is specific to traditional marijuana, a doctor told the panel.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is derived from hemp plants, which are of the same species as marijuana but contain virtually none of the psychoactive compounds that get people high. To be legal in Louisiana, CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC.
The board of directors voted 3-1 to return his job to Anderson with pay.
âI find the lack of advancements in testing and the technology available in something as innocent as falling asleep,â said Christina Olivier, board member, âwhich the city has not acted upon. in good faith and for a just cause “.
Mickey Broussard was the only dissenting vote, arguing that Anderson violated the city’s drug policy.
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Michael Corry, the attorney representing the police department and LCG, argued that Anderson violated the city’s zero tolerance drug policy when his test came back positive.
Anderson’s attorney, Allyson Prejean, argued that since there was no specific policy for CBD and the test could not determine whether the positive test was attributed to CBD or to marijuana, Anderson should return to work.
Anderson was involved in a car accident on duty on December 24, 2020 and, according to department policy, had to take a drug test. The test came back positive for the metabolite of marijuana, said Dr Paul Bergeron. Anderson requested a new test and the marijuana metabolite was still there.
Bergeron said that in some cases, constant use of CBD could lead to a positive drug test. He also said he couldn’t determine whether the marijuana metabolite was from CBD or an illegal THC product.
An internal affairs investigation was opened. Anderson told the investigator he was having trouble sleeping, so his wife suggested a CBD supplement. The manufacturer had given samples to the hospital where she worked as a nurse.
Other nurses she has worked with have had success with the supplement and had no issues when they underwent random drug tests at work, she said.
Anderson told the investigator that he had never ingested marijuana. He also took a computer voice stress analyzer. During the test, Anderson was asked if he had used any illegal drugs or marijuana in the past year, Det. Jonathan Sanchez testified.
Anderson answered “no” to both questions and Sanchez said he did not detect any deception in stress levels.
His wife, a co-worker and a supervising sergeant all testified that they had never seen Anderson take illegal drugs, use marijuana, or appear to be under the influence of illegal drugs.
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Senator Fred Mills was called in to testify about his knowledge of CBD and the differences between CBD and illicit marijuana and argued that there is no test to tell the difference.
Anderson was fired on June 25 for violating LCG’s zero tolerance drug policy, which terminates employees who test positive for any level of illicit drugs, as stated in the policy, the resource manager said. human Rick Zeno.
Two other officers, Jonathan Rabb and Maverick Morvant, withdrew their appeals. Few details were shared about their discipline, but Morvant was suspended for 30 calendar days and Rabb was suspended for 10 calendar days.