Five staffers of the White House were fired from their beat as a result of prior marijuana use. Backtracking of the promises made during electioneering campaigns.
The recent news has sent the marijuana industry and the public to a large extent into a fury, with lots of people demanding accountability.
Many players in the cannabis industry feel that this time, the industry is getting the short end of the stick as the Biden Administration is seemingly retracting on its promises of liberality on the issues of cannabis use.
Since the news broke, the official response has been a push back on the narrative, the White House press has stated that staffers that were laid off weren’t only sent home due to weed use but there were some with additional security issues that include hard drug use.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Friday. “Of the hundreds of people hired, only five people who had started working at the White House are no longer employed as a result of this policy,”
What weed policy? This is the question that begs for an answer
The White House has not published any official guidance on the new policy, except for what can best be described as official gossip.
Officials have opined that there are categories of White House staffers for whom marijuana use is a disqualifying reason.
These groups of staffers are expected not to have used marijuana or any drug ever but if they have used marijuana only on a “limited” basis, they can be given a waiver to work without a clearance. But this is on the premise that they must take a pledge to stop using marijuana completely while working for the government, agrees to random drug testing, and maybe directed to work from home until they meet clearance standards.
Cannabis advocates are having none of it
Many local and national advocates for legalization are denouncing the White House’s actions.
Adam Eidinger, the co-founder of DC Marijuana Justice, said he found the firings “outrageous,” stating there’s no evidence that staffers using marijuana in their free time would affect how they perform in their jobs.
“You should only be looking at someone’s job performance to determine whether they are qualified to work in a place — not whether they used marijuana in the past or are currently using it,” he said.
Though the Biden administration has been more permissive than previous presidential administrations, the terminations have faced widespread criticism, particularly because marijuana has been legal in DC for over five years, even though it remains illegal at the federal level.
Cannabis advocates believe the White House’s actions are not only detrimental in that they set wrong precedents in the federal civil service but also in the private sector.
“This is definitely setting a wrong precedence for discrimination in the workplace and a wrong message, not just to federal employers, but to policymakers and private sector employers around the country,” National Cannabis Industry Association spokesperson Morgan Fox.