House Committee Approves Bill to End Federal Ban on Cannabis Consumers Getting Security-Sensitive Jobs

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability last week advanced a bipartisan measure to let cannabis consumers qualify for security clearances and become federal employees.

Full story after the jump.

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability last week voted 30-14 to advance a measure that would allow cannabis consumers to qualify for security clearances and become federal employees, GovExec reports. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md) and Nancy Mace (R-SC), would end the practice of denying security clearances for federal employees who admit to past cannabis use. The proposal would also allow applicants who have been previously denied a federal job or security clearance in 2008 or later to seek reconsideration of that decision. 

Raskin indicated that he introduced the measure after a constituent said they were denied a job opportunity at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services a week before their start date because they had admitted to using cannabis for medical purposes. 

“Despite the rapid expansion of all of these laws across the country, thousands of our constituents every year are being denied a federal security clearance or are losing the chance of obtaining federal employment solely because they admit honestly to having used marijuana in the past, even when it was completely lawful for them to do so.” — Raskin via GovExec 

When it was first introduced, the measure also barred the government from denying applicants for federal jobs or security clearances based on current cannabis use but the committee removed those provisions before approving it.  

Mace defended attacks from opponents of the bill who argue that cannabis is a dangerous drug, countering that if lawmakers are “concerned about dangerous substance use or abuse” they “ought to look first to alcohol, alcoholism and the addiction that runs there.” 

The measure moves next to the full House for consideration.  

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