US Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Protect Employees From Marijuana Testing

Congressman Crist announces the introduction of new bipartisan bill at press conference (Image via Sun Sentinel)

A US bipartisan bill has been introduced on Wednesday to fairly protect employees from marijuana testing.

Congressman Charlie Crist introduced the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act, HR 6589. This is to protect federal employees from being denied employment or fired if tested positive for marijuana metabolites.

In 1986, the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program created a condition for employment by prohibiting all civilian employees at executive branch agencies from using federally illegal substances.

Because of this program, medical marijuana, which has been approved for medical use in 30 states, remains restricted because it is still illegal by federal law.

This also limits treatment options for federal employees, especially veterans who make up approximately one-third of the federal workforce.

The new bill specifically prohibits federal offices from discrimination against persons based on their status as a marijuana user.

The Congressman stated that the bipartisan bill would protect federal employees.

“Our bipartisan bill would protect federal employment for those in compliance with their state’s cannabis laws. Because our veterans shouldn’t have to choose between treatment options or job opportunities.”

He added:

“Medical marijuana is an issue of compassion, and in the veterans’ community, access is even more important as more and more veterans are turning to cannabis to address chronic pain and PTSD. At the same time, the federal government is the largest employer of veterans; however, private cannabis uses even in states that have legalized medical marijuana is prohibited in these positions.”

1 in 5 Veterans Use Medical Marijuana

An American Legion poll discovered that one out of every five veterans uses medical marijuana.

The National Academies of Sciences reported in a marijuana and health report that there is not enough evidence to declare an association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries.

Here is an overview of the bill:

  •  The Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act prohibits marijuana metabolite testing from being used as the sole factor to deny or terminate federal employment for civilian positions at executive branch agencies if the individual is in compliance with the marijuana laws in their state of residence.
  •  The bill only extends to an individual’s past, private use of cannabis, and does not prohibit probable cause testing if an individual is believed to be impaired at work.
  •  The bill does not apply to individuals occupying or seeking a position requiring a top-secret clearance.
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