No one understands how regressive (and…evil) the feds are. Thanks for burning down all of those fields of pretty plants over the years, guys, not to mention the countless lives ruined by the War on Drugs. It doesn’t make up for it, but the federal government is finally relaxing its drug screening rules, The New York Times reports. Why? As the older generations, who were often more sympathetic to Nancy Reagan’s thinking, leave the workforce, the feds must recruit younger workers. And younger workers grew up in a different time, understanding that cannabis is both a medicine and a generally safe way to relax and elevate life (without the aggression that the Boomer’s three-martini lunches bring).
Whether they like it or not, the feds know that polls suggest that more than half of Americans enjoy cannabis and that a majority believe it should be legal. Medical cannabis use is legal in 38 states (and D.C., home of the feds), and recreational weed is allowed in 22 states. Still, in an ever-absurd loop, it remains illegal under federal law.
And let’s be clear. The federal government is not saying that its employees can start using cannabis. So what is changing?
Historically, even being honest that you used cannabis would make you ineligible for many federal jobs. So agencies are scaling back policies regarding any past cannabis use. The New York Times reports that over the past five years, 3,400 new military recruits who failed a drug test on their first day were given a “grace period to try again.” Biden is also expected to stop digging deep into past cannabis use for those applying for security clearances.
And the C.I.A. traditionally told applicants that they should refrain from cannabis for one year before applying. But in April of last year, they shortened that to 90 days. And in 2021, the F.B.I. shortened its abstinence requirement from three years to one. And, ever so graciously (yes, that is sarcasm), the Office of Personnel Management decided to stop viewing folks who used cannabis previously as a security risk, streamlining the security clearance vetting process.
At present, if you want to apply for security clearance, you must confess (detailed, kind of like when you join Scientology, and they make you disclose any dirt) any illegal drug use over the past seven (!) years. Under their new and improved laws, that number would go down to five. Regarding cannabis, applicants only have to disclose any use 90 days before seeking out the job, which at least acknowledges that cannabis presents fewer risks than other drugs (even though cocaine is Schedule II and cannabis is Schedule I, so if we are to believe the feds, blow is safer than puff-puff-pass).
As for military service, the Army waived more than 3,300 recruits who failed a drug test or admitted past drug use between 2018 and 2022. The Army is the most chill — the Navy historically has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who fails their entry drug test, but they recently started giving recruits a chance to take another piss test after 90 days if they failed the first one. Both the Air Force and The Marine Corps are also offering second chances.
In the post-COVID job market, the feds now have to compete with the private sector, where many folks can work from home and even keep their Sativa vape nearby if they need an energy boost. It appears that the pandemic and resulting economic fallout forced them to pull their heads out of their asses and relax some policies. Let’s hope that one day they realize that even their new “relaxed” policies are as out of touch as satanic panic.