Marijuana use no longer automatic disqualification for Biden appointees
The Biden administration on Friday released new guidelines that will no longer penalize political appointees for previous recreational use of marijuana.
Under the new policy, the White House can now waive a requirement for “Top Secret” clearance for possible appointees in the Executive Office of the President who have previously used pot on a “limited” basis, NBC News reported. The waiver will only be used on a case-by-case basis and can apply to positions that do not ultimately require a security clearance.
Marijuana use has not been made legal under federal law, though an increasing number of states and cities have moved to legalize the drug for both medical and recreational use. Biden transition officials recognized that the recreational weed use could potentially pose an issue for prospective appointees, according to NBC.
The new policy will reportedly only apply to marijuana, and waivers can still be withheld depending on the extent of its use. Anyone who is granted the waiver must then agree to stop pot use during the term of their government service and consent to random drug tests.
“President Biden is committed to bringing the best people into government — especially the young people whose commitment to public service can deepen in these positions and who can play leadership roles in our country for decades to come,” a White House official told NBC News. “The White House’s policy will maintain the absolute highest standards for service in government that the President expects from his administration, while acknowledging the reality that state and local marijuana laws have changed significantly across the country in recent years.”
Last November, four more states voted to legalize recreational marijuana use among adults. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use.