Marijuana News

The Impact of Rescheduling Marijuana on Federal Employment

The Impact of Rescheduling Marijuana on Federal Employment


The Biden administration and Congress are making moves to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug, but these efforts may have a limited impact on the federal workforce compared to the general U.S. public. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency is preparing to downgrade cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which could potentially impact pre-employment screening and drug testing for federal government positions. However, the drug would still be considered federally illegal, and prior marijuana use could still have a significant impact on security clearance holders.

While the rescheduling of marijuana could lead to some changes around the edges, it would not significantly alter the federal employee process, security clearance process, or drug testing policies until it is fully decriminalized and removed from the Controlled Substance Act. The Biden administration's actions and the introduction of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Sens. Ron Wyden and Cory Booker aim to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, but it remains unclear what implications, if any, the administration's reclassification of cannabis would have on federal employees.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act proposes removing unnecessary federal employee pre-employment and random drug testing for cannabis while keeping drug testing in place for certain categories of federal employees in national security, law enforcement, and commercial transportation. This legislation also seeks to expunge the criminal records of many Americans with low-level marijuana offenses. However, the bill would still allow drug testing for marijuana to continue for federal law enforcement officers and other federal employees with significant involvement in national security, the protection of life and property, public health, and safety.

While the Biden administration's actions and the proposed legislation represent steps toward addressing the issue of marijuana's classification and its impact on federal employees, the implications for the workforce remain uncertain. The reclassification of marijuana to a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act could potentially lead to some changes in how federal agencies approach pre-employment screening and drug testing, but the full decriminalization and removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act would be necessary to see significant changes in federal employee policies.


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