Federal Government asks Employees to stay away from Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on May 30, 2015.

Even though 23 states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana and Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Washington, D.C, have allowed the use of recreational marijuana, the Federal Government is not a mood to relent and has asked its employees to stay away from marijuana or face strong disciplinary action.

The guidelines issued by Katherine Archuleta, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, clearly stated that federal law on marijuana remains unchanged despite some states legalizing the pot. In no uncertain terms, marijuana use for more than 4.1 million federal employees across the nation is banned, the guidance said. It was sent to the heads of all federal departments and agencies.

"Marijuana is categorized as a controlled substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act. Thus knowing or intentional marijuana possession is illegal, even if an individual has no intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense marijuana," stated the guidance.

"Drug involvement can raise questions about an individual's reliability, judgment, and trustworthiness or ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations, thus indicating his or her employment might not promote the efficiency or protect the integrity of the service. However, the individual's conduct must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis," Archuleta said.

The 23 states have managed to legalize marijuana only because of federal guidance that asked federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations. However, Federal employees need to adhere to the Drug-Free Workplace Act guidelines, which ban the use of any illegal drugs, on and off duty.

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