Biden Fired A Bunch of Staffers for Smoking Weed, and People Aren't Happy About It
Five White House employees were let go due to their past use of marijuana.
Last Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that 5 staffers were being let go due to their past use of drugs, telling the Associated Press.
“In an effort to ensure that more people have an opportunity to serve the public, we worked in coordination with the security service to ensure that more people have the opportunity to serve than would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use,” Psaki said. “While we will not get into individual cases, there were additional factors at play in many instances for the small number of individuals who were terminated.”
While marijuana policy under the Biden administration allows for up to 15 past uses in a year among White House staffers, some staffers still crossed the line. The policy has even affected those who used marijuana in legal states and the District of Columbia, according to a story in The Daily Beast.
Some staffers who have disclosed past marijuana use are still permitted to work for the Biden administration as long as they "sign a pledge not to use marijuana while working for the government, and they must also submit to random drug testing, according to officials," according to The New York Times.
For many who hoped the new administration would have more progressive views on marijuana use, this decision has not sat well.
“These reports, if accurate, are highly troubling," said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement. "They appear to run counter to the Administration’s own policies, which recognize that a growing number of US jurisdictions – including Washington, DC – have legalized the use of cannabis by adults, and which acknowledge the undue hardships caused by the ongoing criminalization of marijuana at the federal level.”
Altieri added: “This sort of ‘Flat Earth’ mentality refuses to recognize the reality that millions of Americans currently engage in the use of cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their states and that these people are at no greater risk for occupational accidents or injuries. They should not be singled out and discriminated against solely for this activity, and it is highly inappropriate for the Biden Administration to take these punitive actions.”
Adam Eidinger, co-founder of District of Columbia Marijuana Justice (DCMJ), said: "We are quite certain that the White House does not fire staffers for use of alcohol, a scientifically proven deadly and harmful substance. We’re confident there is even alcohol stored away in the White House, and not just in the residence. The White House is clearly ignoring that voters in the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis, and that nearby Virginia and Maryland allow for medical use of cannabis. If the White House wants the best and brightest working there on behalf of the American people, it needs to tolerate all viewpoints and lifestyle choices, including the legal use of cannabis."
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who is co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, told Marijuana Moment called the Biden administration's actions "an antiquated response to an emerging issue. People now understand how ubiquitous use of cannabis is for recreational use and for medical use, and it is something that involves well over 100 million Americans.”