Staffers at the White House who had previously consumed cannabis have been suspended, asked to resign, or have been relegated to working remotely. This includes White House staff members who are residents of the District of Columbia or one of the 14 states who have already legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
Among the White House staffers affected by this included a large number of younger employees, many of whom sought employment in the White House after the Biden administration guidelines were updated to allow for a “limited” use of cannabis among lower security clearance workers. Employees were also required to disclose their marijuana consumption to the White House when joining the company under the assumption that these infractions would be overlooked.
These actions are seen as a step backwards by many of the staffers who were optimistic of Biden’s stances on marijuana. These marijuana-related consequences came after the White house announced that previous marjuana charges would not be a disqualifying factor, while those employees with a cannabis history were told that their previous cannabis consumption would be overlooked.
The White House’s Stance on Cannabis Usage
This is not a move that has been made without precedence. While the number of allowable instances of marijuana usage increased during the previous two administrations, applicants for positions in the White House have had their positions removed after failing to pass urine tests. The sacking is also unsurprising, given that marijuana is still illegal on a federal level.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to these allegations by tweeting a February NBC news report, stating that employees who had disclosed having previously consumed marijuana wouldn’t be automatically barred by the Biden Administration from applying for a White House position. Out of the hundreds of employees who are on the White House’s employ, she stated, only five are no longer part of the administration.
“In an effort to ensure that more people have an opportunity to serve the public, we worked in coordination with the security service to ensure that more people have the opportunity to serve than would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use. While we will not get into individual cases, there were additional factors at play in many instances for the small number of individuals who were terminated,” she told the news outlet The Daily Beast.
With such resignations coming to light, the White House has updated their employee guidelines. In these new guidelines, staff members have been asked to cease consuming marijuana entirely.
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