Congressional Report: Federal Employers Need to Update Marijuana Policies

Congressional Report: Federal Employers Need to Update Marijuana Policies
Congressional Report: Federal Employers Need to Update Marijuana Policies

A new report from a congressional committee is recommending to the federal government that it “reconsider its hiring and firing policies as they relate to workers who use marijuana in compliance with state laws.”

This has great significance for cannabis investors. Existing federal policy strictly prohibits the usage of cannabis by all federal workers – outside of working hours – even in states where the medicinal and/or recreational usage of cannabis has already been approved.

There are well over 2 million federal employees in the United States. Many state and local government employers have similar Prohibition policies, even where cannabis is legal. In addition, many private sector employers also prohibit their employees from consuming cannabis – or risk termination of their employment.

This also makes it much more unlikely that other members of these households will consume cannabis products. This could be due to either the continuation of the social stigma against cannabis, or simply fear of “second-hand” cannabis consumption.

An article on this report provides greater detail.

“Hiring Guidelines—The Committee encourages OPM to review its policies and guidelines regarding hiring and firing of individuals who use marijuana in states where that individual’s private use of marijuana is not prohibited under the law of the State. These policies should reflect updated changes to the law on marijuana usage and clearly state the impact of marijuana usage on Federal employment.”

In addition, the report added guidance on the “cannabis banking provision that made it into the base spending bill.”

Perhaps of greater interest is what is missing from this report. Deleted is a “rider” stipulating that Washington, D.C. is not allowed to use local tax revenues to implement legal marijuana sales in that jurisdiction.

Last week, TSI noted that the Mayor of Washington is moving forward on a local initiative to implement legal cannabis retailing in Washington, D.C. Residents of the District of Columbia are currently legally allowed to consume and cultivate cannabis, following local ballot approval.

Perversely, however, because of Congress’ legal authority over the District of Columbia, legal retail cannabis commerce is still barred. This was setting up a potential clash between levels of government. Should this draft make its way into the final appropriations bill, this clears the way for legal cannabis retailing in Washington, D.C.
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