Bill Would Protect Jobs of Federal Employees Using Marijuana

July 29, 2018 11:14 AM , Updated August 11, 2018 7:43 AM
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Photograph showing a close up of the top part of a marijuana plant

Federal employees in certain states would legally be allowed to use marijuana without risking termination from their jobs if a new bill were to become law.

Marijuana is currently illegal at the federal level which means that any federal employees using it are subject to termination, even if they work or reside in a state in which it is legal. The Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act (H.R. 6589), introduced by Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) and co-sponsored by Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA), would change that.

The bill would bar the government from denying employment or making federal employees “subject to any other adverse personnel action” if they had a positive drug test and lived in a state where it was legal.

The bill contains a couple of exceptions, however. One is if there was “probable cause to believe that the individual is under the influence of marijuana” in the workplace. Another is for federal employees applying for or holding positions involving “top secret clearance or access to a highly sensitive program.”

Marijuana Use and States’ Rights

A growing number of states have made marijuana legal, either for recreational and/or personal use. Marijuana is legal for recreational use in the District of Columbia, home to many federal agencies and their employees.

The map below shows the states where marijuana is and is not legal as of July 1, 2018.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.