Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Marijuana may be legal in some states and and DC, but allowed in a lot of federal employment

On Tuesday, June 30, Matthew Rosenberg and Mark Mazzetti provided a front page New York Times story, “Is marijuana legal in your state? Perhaps not for federal work.”  Online the article is “State marijuana laws complicate federal job recruitment”, link here

Many agencies still test for marijuana use, and evidence of use can stay in the body for 30 days.  Second hand exposure is unlikely to cause a positive test, but it might be conceivable. Other tests, like hair samples, might show use for longer.    The CIA asks if you have been drug free for one year, the FBI, three years.  The State Department has no waiting period, but sometimes tests randomly.
Apparently medical use would not be recognized as legitimate by some agencies, since federal law still views even medical use as illegal, although it is becoming acceptable in many cases and obviously helps many patients.

I had only one drug screening in my career, at end of 1989 when I applied for the job at USLICO that would start a 12-year hitch winding up with ING.   

It would seem reasonable that drug abstinence periods should be based on what can actually affect doing a job.  Alcohol is legal, but pilots may not use it for 24 hours before flying.  Marijuana policies should be similar.  
Complicating the issue is that home recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the District of Columbia, and possession of up to six plant is permitted.  In some areas, it is possible for marijuana to grow wild on a property and not be noticed by the owner. 

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