A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress last week (March 12) seeks to shield federal employees from being fired once they test positive for marijuana.
The bill, introduced by Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Charlie Crist (D-FL), is intended to clarify that federal workers who consume cannabis in states where it is legal cannot be held liable under federal law for testing positive for the substance.
Currently, federal employees can be summarily fired or denied a job if they test positive for THC. This blanket action happens regardless of state law.
Crist explains that the existing policy and law disproportionately impacts veterans because many of them have taken to medical marijuana in order to deal with various issues, such as PTSD and chronic pain. For such veterans, medical cannabis provides an alternative to harmful and addictive opioids.
Crist also notes that one third of the federal workforce is made up of veterans, and the law is unfair to this section of federal employees because they didn’t ask to suffer from the conditions that led them to use medical marijuana.
The bill wants to address the legal conflict that often puts veterans and other employees (or prospective employees) in a difficult position in which they have to choose between using medical cannabis and retaining their employment. No one should be forced to make that choice if medical cannabis is legal in the state where the person lives or works.
However, the bill doesn’t try to stop employers from conducting drugs tests and acting on the results if a person is suspected to have been intoxicated while on the job. Federal employees who require top secret clearance are also exempted from the protections outlined in this bill.
The previous version of this bill didn’t provide protections to individuals who used cannabis in conformity with the policies of Indian tribes. This present version includes such people.
The present bill also used the term “personnel action” when describing the protections offered. The inclusion of the term “personnel action” was intended to clarify that the bill should not be interpreted to mean that federal employees were protected from criminal action resulting from their use of marijuana.
It is hoped that this bill will be enacted so that talented individuals aren’t denied federal employment opportunities. Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) and Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) wish the sponsors of the bill success since their intention of protecting veterans and other federal employees is a good cause.
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