On February 26, the Biden administration released new guidelines as it begins to fill up vacant positions in the White House. One of the guidelines addresses previous cannabis consumption of White House staffer applicants.
Although cannabis is legal in Washington D.C., it is still illegal on a federal scale. However, the attitude against personal consumption is beginning to change for those seeking a job at the White House. According to NBC News, cannabis use as an immediate disqualification was revisited through “intensive consultation with security officials” as well as the Personnel Security Division. In certain cases, a waiver can be granted in order to those who have a limited consumption history, so long as the position being applied for does not require a security clearance.
“President Biden is committed to bringing the best people into government — especially the young people whose commitment to public service can deepen in these positions and who can play leadership roles in our country for decades to come,” an unnamed White House official told NBC News. “The White House’s policy will maintain the absolute highest standards for service in government that the President expects from his administration, while acknowledging the reality that state and local marijuana laws have changed significantly across the country in recent years.” This decision is expected to ensure the continuation of national security while also modernizing policies.The White House contact did not provide a specific number of individuals who would have been immediately disqualified if these new guidelines weren’t put into place. However, they did confirm that cannabis consumption affected a large number of applicants, which warranted the chance. “It would be inconsistent with suitability regulations to implement a policy of finding an individual unfit or unsuitable for federal service solely on the basis of recency of marijuana use,” Kathleen McGettigan, the White House’s Office of Personnel Management leader wrote. “The nature and seriousness of the use and the nature of the specific position…Are also likely to be important considerations.”