Big government wants to make it perfectly clear that under no circumstance is the consumption of marijuana acceptable for federal employees. More than half of the United States has legalized cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, yet this reform in reefer laws remains off limits to those workers whose paychecks are signed by government agencies.
In an attempt to drive home the government’s anti-pot stance, the Office of Personnel Management issued a memorandum earlier this week, threatening the throes of the unemployment line for any federal employee who takes advantage of the stoner scene in states that have legalized the leaf. This message applies to around 4.1 million staff members nationwide, ranging from postal workers to military recruits.
“Federal law on marijuana remains unchanged,” wrote OPM director Katherine Archuleta. “Marijuana is categorized as a controlled substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act. Thus knowing or intentional marijuana possession is illegal, even if an individual has no intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense marijuana.”
Interestingly, the latest call for stoned sobriety among federal workers is based on a 1986 Executive Order signed by President Ronald Reagan aimed at establishing a “Drug-Free Federal Workplace.” Despite the document’s antiquated position in progressive society, Archuleta claims that regardless of a federal employee’s workhorse attitude, the use of marijuana, even off duty, is cause for disciplinary action if they do not enter into rehab.
Although the order does not mandate the immediate termination of an employee who submits a positive test for marijuana, it does insist their “trustworthiness” and “willingness to comply with laws” should be evaluated before allowing them to keep their job.
This means federal employees planning a vacation to a legal state over the summer may want to refrain from divulging their travel plans to co-workers. Reports indicate that most federal workers are only burdened by random drug tests if a supervisor has a reason to be suspicious. That is, unless the employee happens to be in a position of national security. These people typically undergo routine drug screens as a condition of employment.
Nevertheless, the memo suggests that agency supervisors are responsible for briefing staff members in regards to how changes in the marijuana laws pertain to their role as a slave to the government’s groove.
“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,” wrote Archuleta. “An individual’s disregard of Federal law pertaining to marijuana remains adjudicatively relevant to suitability determinations and relevant for disciplinary actions.”
Marijuana advocates, however, are somewhat confused by the federal government’s latest ploy to bring the hammer down on employees who smoke a little weed after hours. Especially, considering the recent efforts by the Department of Justice to allow states the ability to legalize marijuana without interference from the top. Many suggest that it is not fair to punish federal workers for taking part in a substance that President Obama has said himself is no more dangerous than the consumption of alcohol.
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