Crist Pushing Legislation to Allow Marijuana Among Some Federal Workers

02 Aug, 2019 Nancy Grover

                               

Washington, DC (WorkersCompensation.com) – Should federal workers be allowed to use marijuana in states where it is legal? They would, under legislation being considered in Congress.

HR1687 would eliminate a positive test for marijuana as a reason not to hire — or to fire — someone working for a federal agency in affected states. Called the Fairness in Fedeal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act, the measure was introduced by Rep. Charlie Crist, (D-FL) and co-sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-AK).

“I think if someone is legitimately taking medical marijuana prescribed to them by their physician, that they shouldn't be discriminated against for that and they shouldn't be barred from federal employment," Crist was quoted as saying. “The utilization of medical marijuana can solve a lot of medical problems for veterans and other citizens, as well. So, to reach out to them to give them the opportunity to have federal employment is equally important if not more so.”

Crist wants testing of marijuana to be eliminated for those seeking employment in the federal government in affected states. The majority of states now allow medical marijuana, while 11 jurisdictions have approved recreational marijuana laws.

Specifically, the bill:

  • Prohibits marijuana metabolite testing from being used as the sole factor to deny or terminate federal employment for civilian positions at executive branch agencies if the individual is in compliance with the marijuana laws in their state of residence.
  • Only extends to an individual’s past, private use of cannabis, and does not prohibit probable cause testing if an individual is believed to be impaired at work.
  • Does not apply to individuals occupying or seeking a position requiring a top-secret clearance.

Critics of the idea say it will result in more workplace accidents and higher workers’ compensation costs, among other things.

Currently, Nevada is the only state scheduled to bar employers from refusing to hire prospective employees due to positive drug tests for marijuana, under a law that takes effect in January. The law excluded certain workers, such as those operating a motor vehicle.

The bill is currently in the House Committeee on Oversight and Reform and has nine co-sponsors.


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    About The Author

    • Nancy Grover

      Nancy Grover is a freelance writer having recently retired as the Director, Media Services for WorkersCompensation.com. She comes to our company with more than 35 years as a broadcast journalist and communications consultant. Grover’s specialties include insurance, workers’ compensation, financial services, substance abuse, healthcare and disability. For 12 years she served as the Program Chair of the National Workers’ Compensation and Disability Conference® & Expo. A journalism/speech graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Grover also holds an MBA from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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