Bill Would Protect Federal Employees From Being Fired for Marijuana Use

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By on March 19, 2019 in Human Resources with 0 Comments

Close up of small pile of marijuana buds

Legislation has been reintroduced in the House to protect the jobs of federal employees who use marijuana in states where it is currently legal.

Under federal law, marijuana is still considered to be illegal even though it is now legal in several states for either medical or recreational use. This creates a predicament for federal workers who live in those states; if they were to use marijuana legally under their states’ laws, they could put their jobs with the federal government at risk.

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) wants to change that. He recently reintroduced the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws (H.R. 1687) bill to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances list and allow states the freedom to regulate marijuana as they choose, without federal interference.

It would prohibit marijuana drug testing “from being used as the sole factor to deny or terminate federal employment for civilian positions at executive branch agencies if the individual is in compliance with the marijuana laws in their state of residence.”

“For federal employees complying with state cannabis law, they shouldn’t have to choose between a proven treatment and their job,” Crist said.

He also said that the bill will protect veterans’ cannabis treatment options. “For our veterans’, cannabis has been shown to address chronic pain and PTSD, often replacing addictive and harmful opioids,” Crist said. “At the same time, the federal government is the largest employer of our veterans’ community. This conflict, between medical care and maintaining employment, needs to be resolved.”

The bill was previously introduced in the last session of Congress but failed to advance.

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

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