May 12, 2023 2 min read

How the Federal Government is Changing its Approach to Cannabis Use in the Workforce

In recent years, the federal government has reconsidered its stance on cannabis use due to changing demographics in the workforce. With older generations retiring, younger workers with a different view of cannabis are needed. Here's what you need to know about the federal government's approach to cannabis use in the workforce.

Relaxed Rules on Cannabis Use

To attract and retain younger workers, the federal government has relaxed some of its rules on past cannabis use for applicants and employees. The CIA, FBI, and Office of Personnel Management have shortened the period of abstinence required before applying for a job or security clearance. The military has granted waivers and second chances to recruits who failed a drug test or admitted past drug use.

However, it's important to note that cannabis is still illegal under federal law, and federal employees are still subject to random drug testing and disciplinary actions if they test positive. Some agencies have maintained a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis use, such as the Navy and the Department of Justice.

Legalization Efforts

The federal government's approach to cannabis is still not aligned with the views of many Americans who use it legally or medically in their states. The House passed a bill in April 2022 that would legalize cannabis nationwide and expunge previous convictions, but it's uncertain if it will pass in the Senate.

In October 2022, President Biden announced a pardon of all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana and urged governors to do the same at the state level. He also asked his administration to review how cannabis is scheduled under federal law.

Impact on Federal Workers

Until cannabis is fully legalized and regulated at the federal level, federal workers may continue to face discrimination and stigma for their personal choices. However, these relaxed rules are a step in the right direction to align federal law with the will of the people and the science of cannabis.

In summary, the federal government is changing its approach to cannabis use in the workforce to attract and retain younger workers. While progress has been made, there is still a long way to go before federal law reflects the reality of many Americans who use cannabis legally or medically.