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Democrats ask Biden to reverse employee policy on past marijuana use

Democrats ask Biden to reverse employee policy on past marijuana use
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A group of 30 Democratic lawmakers on Thursday signed a letter to President BidenJoe BidenBiden taps California workplace safety leader to head up OSHA Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS US mulling cash payments to help curb migration MORE urging him to do away with his administration’s employee policy regarding past marijuana use after it was reported that five staffers had been fired for acknowledging using cannabis in the past.

The Democratic Congress members wrote in their letter that they are thankful for Biden’s “leadership and commitment to bringing the best and most capable people to government."

“We, however, were dismayed to learn that several White House staffers were reportedly suspended, put on probation, or asked to resign after honestly disclosing past cannabis use,” the lawmakers wrote. “We ask that you clarify your employment suitability policies, remove past cannabis use as a potential disqualifier, and apply these policies with consistency and fairness.”

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The 30 Democratic lawmakers who signed the letter include Reps. Don Beyer (Va.), Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanDemocrats ask Biden to reverse employee policy on past marijuana use Give postal EVs a quick stamp of approval House Oversight Committee demands release of B USPS vehicle contract MORE (Calif.), Mondaire Jones (N.Y.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeBiden funding decision inflames debate over textbooks for Palestinian refugees 10 Democrats join NAACP lawsuit against Trump White House delays release of budget plan MORE (Calif.) and Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroDemocrats ask Biden to reverse employee policy on past marijuana use The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's next act: Massive infrastructure plan with tax hikes Blinken to appear before Foreign Affairs Committee MORE (Texas).

The lawmakers argued in their letter that although marijuana is still federally illegal, as press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiMcConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Five takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE has said in defense of the administration’s decision, marijuana legalization is growing among states and unequal punitive action against cannabis users is a growing cause for concern among Americans.

They also pointed to a memorandum from acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Kathleen McGettigan that advised evaluating past cannabis use on a case-by-case basis instead of “categorically disqualifying applicants for past cannabis use.”

“Furthermore, the existing policies have been applied in inconsistent and unfair ways. Past presidents have admitted to illegal cannabis use, among other drug use, without consequences,” they wrote, pointing to former presidents Obama and Clinton, as well as current Vice President Harris, all of whom have admitted to past cannabis use.

“Repercussions for cannabis use have always been unequal and those with the most power have always faced the fewest consequences. We ask that you don’t allow that pattern to continue within your administration," they added.

“What we tried to do as an administration was work with the security service, who actually makes these determinations about suitability for serving in government,” Psaki said during a press briefing on Wednesday, adding that the policy under the Obama administration had been "far more stringent.”

“So, that isn’t about anyone’s personal point of view,” Psaki continued. “It’s about working through the process, the history and modernizing and taking steps to address the fact that marijuana is legal in a number of states across the country ... [but] it is still illegal federally."