Say it ain’t so Joe. A number of White House staffers have reportedly been suspended or asked to resign due to their past marijuana use, despite initial promise it would be overlooked.
Past marijuana use has resulted in the termination of several White House staffers. According CNN, five employees were fired following background checks that revealed their past indulgence in the drug.
Though marijuana has been legalized in many states, the use of the drug is currently still illegal on the federal level. A recent announcement from the Biden administration ruled that guidelines were updated to “ensure that talented and otherwise well-qualified applicants with limited marijuana use will not be barred from serving the American people.”
Staffers were reportedly under the impression that their employment in the White House wouldn’t be affected by their prior use of the drug and subsequently filled out a questionnaire — which included questions about their marijuana use.
Per the Daily Beast, however, White House staffers were asked to resign after they admitted to their past use of the drug; additional employees were suspended or asked to work remotely.
On Friday morning (March 19), White House press secretary Jen Psaki took to Twitter to address the terminations. “We announced a few weeks ago that the White House had worked with the security service to update the policies to ensure that past marijuana use wouldn’t automatically disqualify staff from serving in the White House,” she wrote.
“As a result, more people will serve who would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use. The bottom line is this: of the hundreds of people hired, only five people who had started working at the White House are no longer employed as a result of this policy.”
She later told CNN, “While we will not get into individual cases, there were additional factors at play in many instances for the small number of individuals who were terminated.”
Psaki’s tweets didn’t mention the employees who were reportedly suspended or asked to work from home.
As a result, more people will serve who would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use. The bottom line is this: of the hundreds of people hired, only five people who had started working at the White House are no longer employed as a result of this policy.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) March 19, 2021
Just last month, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed three bills that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. Nebraska’s Republican governor Pete Rickets, meanwhile, said that legalizing marijuana would “kill your kids.” Marijuana is still a divisive topic among politicians, and so far Biden has only indicated that he’s on board for decriminalization over general legalization.