Congressman Proposes Bipartisan Amendment to End Cannabis-Based Job Denials, Garnering Support for Federal Clearances

Bipartisan Support Grows for Ending Cannabis-Based Job Denials in Federal Clearances

In a remarkable development, a Democratic congressman has put forward an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could potentially secure “very ” for ending the denial of security clearances for federal based solely on prior cannabis use. Representative Robert Garcia (D-CA) recently spoke about his proposal in an interview with MSNBC, highlighting the need to rectify the current “shameful” status quo that limits the pool of eligible for federal positions, despite cannabis being legalized in nearly half of the states, including California—the congressman’s home state.

Garcia passionately argued that the existing practice unfairly impacts approximately 155 million Americans residing in states where cannabis is . Such individuals face unnecessary hurdles when it comes to obtaining security clearances, serving in the , or working in government agencies such as the Department. The congressman emphasized the urgency of correcting this injustice, acknowledging the countless young people in the country who have suffered the consequences of being penalized for engaging in a legal activity.

“These talented people deserve a chance to serve in the federal government and pass the security clearances required for these critical jobs,” Garcia asserted, underscoring the abundance of skilled individuals that states like California produce. With the goal of fostering bipartisanship, he highlighted a similar amendment put forth by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) that aims to prohibit marijuana drug testing as a requirement for military enlistment. Garcia expressed optimism that both measures, although differing in scope, can attract broad support, demonstrating that cannabis-related issues are not bound by partisan divisions.

The congressman firmly believes that most Americans recognize the need for addressing these issues. He finds it disheartening that prospective military personnel and individuals in states where cannabis use is legal encounter barriers in obtaining security clearances. The upcoming week presents a vital opportunity to rectify these injustices, and Garcia hopes that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will vote in favor of these critical amendments.

To progress further, the drug policy amendments must navigate the House Committee, which is scheduled to consider the proposals on Tuesday. Notably, in the previous Congress, certain cannabis and psychedelics amendments were included in the NDAA by the House but were eventually omitted from the final agreement reached through negotiations with the .

However, last Congress did witness an important development as lawmakers successfully secured report language instructing the secretary of defense to explore the feasibility and advisability of conducting a study on the use of pharmacologic or plant-based therapies as alternatives to prescription opioids for treating PTSD, TBI, or chronic pain.

During this session, two drug policy amendments have already been appended to the House version of the NDAA. The House Armed Services Committee recently approved Republican-led measures to establish a medical marijuana “pilot program” and mandate a study on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for active duty military members under the purview of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

In a separate development, the Senate Appropriations Committee released a report accompanying a spending bill, urging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to facilitate medical marijuana access for veterans and explore the therapeutic possibilities of psychedelics.

As the momentum for drug policy reform builds, the keyphrase “cannabis-based denials” remains at the forefront of these efforts, aiming to eliminate the unfair obstacles faced by individuals with prior cannabis use in obtaining federal security clearances. The coming weeks will determine whether these amendments successfully pass through the necessary legislative channels, potentially bringing about a much-needed change in federal hiring practices and opening doors of opportunity for countless Americans.

Malvin Felix
I'm Malvin, a cannabis news enthusiast who finds joy in staying updated about the latest industry trends. My passion led me to become a dedicated writer, entrepreneur, and investor in the cannabis space. Through my writing, I aim to educate and spark discussions, while my entrepreneurial ventures and strategic investments reflect my commitment to driving positive change in the industry.

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