Federal workers would be allowed to legally use marijuana without risking their jobs under a bipartisan bill proposed Thursday, the “Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act.”
Introduced by Rep. Charlie Crist, Florida Democrat, and Rep. Drew Ferguson, Georgia Republican, the bill would remove limitations on federal employment for anyone legally using marijuana in accordance with state law, effectively keeping government workers in most the country from being canned for their cannabis use.
The bill protects employees “whose residence is in a State where that individual’s private use of marijuana is not prohibited” from being denied employment or being “subject to any other adverse personnel action” as a result of a positive cannabis test, according to Marijuana Moment, a cannabis news site that first reported the proposal Friday.
It was introduced in the House and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Thirty states have passed laws allowing residents to use medical marijuana, including nine that have gone further by legalizing recreational use, making more than 200 million people subject to a patchwork of state laws permitting pot.
The U.S. government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance in the same category as heroin, however, and federal workers who test positive for marijuana currently risk being fired under existing policies, regardless of any medical or recreational laws in place where they reside.
The congressmen’s proposal would protect civilian federal employees across departments and agencies from termination, excluding workers with jobs involving “top secret clearance or access to a highly sensitive program,” Marijuana Moment reported. The bill would also allow for workers to be terminated if there is “probable cause to believe that the individual is under the influence of marijuana” at the workplace, the report said.
Georgia and Florida legalized medical marijuana in 2015 and 2016, respectively, but neither have legalized recreational use of the drug.