Representatives of Congress are looking for changes to federal policy around the hiring and firing processes for employees who happen to use medical cannabis. All federal employees, including those working in states where cannabis is legal, are prohibited from using medical cannabis.
Spearheaded by Charlie Crist, the bill has garnered hundreds of co-sponsors across states and districts. It is not the first bill of its kind, attempting to initiate changes in federal legislation as the cannabis industry grows and evolves. The goal of the provisions is to initiate progress in recognizing certain rights, such as allowing federal employees to use their medication, improving cannabis access for veterans, and help with workplace discrimination based on consumption.
“This bill would protect federal workers, including veterans, from discrimination should they be participating in activities compliant with state-level cannabis laws on their personal time. The last thing we need is to drive talented workers away from these employment opportunities,” said Don Young, U.S. Representative for Alaska’s at-large congressional district
Along with other representatives, Crist consulted with NORML, an organization working towards marijuana law reform, to help form the provisions they believe are needed at this time.
Justin Strekal, political director at NORML, shared the pride felt by the organization, being able to help with cannabis reform and ensure that changes are done in a “smooth and sensible” manner.
As reported in Marijuana Moment, Strekal said responsible adults are being denied employment, which disproportionately affects veterans, and added that these kinds of reforms are needed as states end their war on cannabis.
“For federal employees complying with state cannabis law, they shouldn’t have to choose between a proven treatment and their job,” said Crist, Representative of D-FL, 13th District.
Recommendations to re-evaluate the U.S. federal employment policies were attached in a report about a large-scale funding proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 and submitted June 10, 2019. Full details on the bill and amendments are available here.
The bill further addresses protecting banks and businesses operating in the legal cannabis industry, which are now categorized as profits from crime.
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