One in four adults say federal marijuana employment policies prevent them from applying for government jobs, survey finds

As the federal government struggles to recruit young people, a recent survey found that 30 percent of those ages 18 to 30 have declined to apply for jobs or withdraw their applications because of the strict marijuana policies required for security clearances.

The survey, published last month on Unofficial Marijuana Vacation on April 20 by ClearanceJobs and the Intelligence and National Security Foundation (INSF), interviewed young adults about federal employment policies, with a focus on cannabis.

Participants were first asked if they would consider working in a federal position that requires a security clearance, and nearly 80 percent said they either would or might consider applying — although 40 percent also said they had used marijuana in the past year.

One of the most notable findings is that 20 percent of respondents said they declined to apply for federal jobs because of the government’s restrictive cannabis policies. Another 10 percent said they withdrew their applications because of the marijuana rules.


The survey also found that 25 percent say the government’s marijuana policy will prevent them from seeking work that requires a security clearance in the future. While 39 percent said they would be willing to give up cannabis in order to get a federal job, 18 percent said they would not. And 15 percent said they would not stop using marijuana after obtaining security clearance.


Interestingly, most of the panelists did not have a firm grasp of what the government’s policy on cannabis use actually was. 16 percent said any marijuana use automatically disqualifies applicants for security clearance 37 percent said there was no impact on eligibility 24 percent said it was one of several factors considered for clearance 23 percent said they had no know.

Similarly, there is confusion about policies for people who already have security clearances, with 9 percent saying these individuals can use marijuana anywhere, 31 percent saying they can use marijuana in a legal jurisdiction, and 33 percent saying using cannabis is prohibited and 26 percent said they did not know.

Only four percent of respondents correctly answered both questions about the federal government’s security clearance rules for applicants and those who have already been cleared.

The survey included interviews with 905 adults 18-30 who live in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Texas, and Colorado. Interviews took place in February. The margin of error is +/- 3.23 percentage points.

While marijuana employment policies under federal prohibition remain strict, various agencies have moved to relax requirements as more states move to enact legalization.

For example, the United States Secret Service (USSS) recently updated its hiring policy to be more friendly to applicants who have previously used marijuana, making candidates of any age eligible one year after they last used cannabis. Previously, there were stricter restrictions based on age.

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has revised its cannabis rules for job applicants. Applicants who grew, manufactured, or sold marijuana in accordance with state laws while serving in an “office of public responsibility” will not be automatically disqualified.

Late last year, draft documents obtained by Marijuana Moment showed that the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was proposing to replace a series of job application forms for prospective workers in a way that would treat past cannabis use more leniently than in the current policy. . .

The Biden administration introduced a policy in 2021 that would allow waivers to be granted to some workers who admit to prior marijuana use, but some lawmakers have pushed for additional reform.

For example, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said at a congressional hearing on marijuana legalization last year that he intends to introduce a bill aimed at protecting federal workers from being denied security clearances for marijuana.

Last year, the nation’s largest union representing federal employees adopted a resolution supporting legalization of marijuana and calling for an end to policies that penalize federal workers who responsibly use cannabis while they are off the clock in states where it is legal.

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) said in 2021 that federal employers should not deny security clearance applications at all, and should use discretion when it comes to those who have cannabis investments in their stock portfolios.

The FBI also updated its hiring policies that year to have candidates only automatically be disqualified from joining the agency if they admitted to using marijuana within one year of applying. Previously, prospective employees of the agency could not use marijuana within the past three years.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) also took a different approach to its cannabis policy in 2020, stating in a notice that it will not test drivers for CBD. However, the Department of Transportation recently reiterated that the workforce it regulates is prohibited from using marijuana and will continue to be tested for THC, regardless of government cannabis policy.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sent a letter to the DOT chief last year, stating that the agency’s policies on drug-testing truck drivers and other commercial marijuana drivers are unnecessarily costing people their jobs and contributing to supply chain problems.

The EPA has also assured its workers that they are prohibited from using marijuana — or directly investing in the industry — regardless of state law or changes in “social mores” around cannabis.

While the Biden administration has instituted a waiver policy intended to provide discretion over federal hiring and cannabis use in the past, it has drawn criticism from advocates after early reports that the White House fired or punished dozens of employees who were honest about their histories. with marijuana.

Then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki tried to minimize the fallout, without much success, and her office issued a statement in 2021 stating that no one had been fired for “using marijuana in years,” and no one had been terminated “for infrequent use in the 12 months.” previous.”

Michigan officials are moving to end pre-employment marijuana testing for government workers

Photo provided by Philip Stephan.

The marijuana moment was made possible with the support of our readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider our monthly Patreon pledge.

Become a sponsor on Patreon!

#adults #federal #marijuana #employment #policies #prevent #applying #government #jobs #survey #finds

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top