Federal Gov’t: Employees Banned From Using Marijuana Because It Calls Into Question Their Trustworthiness
Federal employees interested in partaking of marijuana in states where the drug is legal received a disappointing message on Wednesday from the government: using pot is still prohibited.
Director of the Office of Personnel Management Katherine Archuleta posted the memo on the agency’s website, and the guidance doesn’t appear to leave any room for misinterpretation.
“Heads of agencies are expected to advise their workforce that legislative changes by some states and the District of Columbia do not alter federal law, existing suitability criteria or Executive Branch policies regarding marijuana,” Archuleta wrote.
Under federal law, marijuana remains a controlled substance as a Schedule I drug. This means the 4.1 million federal government employees scattered around 23 states and the District of Columbia, in which marijuana is to some extent legal, cannot use marijuana on federal property. That’s not all. The recent guidance leaves untouched a 1986 executive order from the Reagan administration. Executive Order 12564 states that off-duty drug use is prohibited, as well as on-duty, since the use of drugs makes one unsuitable for federal employment.
In particular, the memo argues that marijuana consumption throws into question an individual’s “reliability, judgment, and trustworthiness or ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations, thus indicating his or her employment might not promote the efficiency or protect the integrity of the service.”
Although the Department of Justice has slowly backed off enforcing federal marijuana laws against states which choose to experiment with legalization programs, other parts of the federal government still refuse to give in to looser restrictions. The Department of Veterans Affairs has notably pushed back against proposals to allow physicians to fill out medical marijuana recommendation forms for veterans.
Resistance in the bureaucracy has prompted Congress to try and prohibit the VA from spending funds to stop physicians from filling out these forms. While the proposal failed in the House by a 213-210 vote, it has so far passed through a Senate panel. (RELATED: Senate Says Yes To Medical Marijuana For Veterans)
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