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Friday, May 29, 2015

Federal Employees Prohibited from Using Marijuana

While marijuana continues to grow in popularity around the country with regard to both medical and recreational use, there are some who cannot partake even if they live in one of those states. People working for the federal government living in D.C., the 23 medically approved states, or the four states where the drug has been legalized, are prohibited from using marijuana, The Washington Post reports. In the United States, there are roughly 4.1 million federal employees and military personnel.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a new memo with regard to the use of marijuana for federal employees. The rules for federal employees remain the same, marijuana is still illegal federally and possessing or using it is a crime.

“Federal law on marijuana remains unchanged. Marijuana is categorized as a controlled substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta wrote in a memo posted on the agency Web site. “Thus knowing or intentional marijuana possession is illegal, even if an individual has no intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense marijuana.”

“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 points out that states altering their laws with regard to marijuana: “have raised questions about whether Federal employees in these jurisdictions may use marijuana as provided for in state law.”

Rules regarding the use of any drug by federal employees goes back to Ronald Reagan's 1986 Executive Order; you can read an excerpt below:

“Executive Order 12564, Drug-Free Federal Workplace, mandates that (a) Federal employees are required to refrain from the use of illegal drugs; (b) the use of illegal drugs by Federal employees, whether on or off duty, is contrary to the efficiency of the service; and (c) persons who use illegal drugs are not suitable for Federal employment. The Executive Order emphasizes, however, that discipline is not required for employees who voluntarily seek counseling or rehabilitation and thereafter refrain from using illegal drugs.”

Federal employees who test positive for marijuana can face termination, according to the article. Archuleta notes that the federal government offers prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs for employees.

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