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Bill Would Ban Cannabis Use Discrimination in Federal Hiring

The CURE Act would also allow for reviews of previous decisions.

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Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) and Congresswoman Nancy Mace (SC-01) introduced the Cannabis Users Restoration of Eligibility (CURE) Act, legislation to prevent prior or current marijuana use from becoming grounds for failing to receive security clearance or for being found unsuitable for federal employment. The CURE Act will also allow for someone who has previously been denied a security clearance or a federal job opportunity based on marijuana use the chance to have that denial reviewed.

“Every year, qualified and dedicated individuals seeking to serve our country are unable to secure federal jobs and security clearances because the federal government has not caught up with the widely established legal use of medical and recreational cannabis,” said Rep. Raskin. “I am proud to partner with my friend Representative Mace to introduce the bipartisan CURE Act that will eliminate the draconian, failed and obsolete marijuana policies that prevent talented individuals from becoming honorable public servants in their own government.”

“DPA is excited to support legislation that can help end another pillar of the drug war and allow individuals to secure work,” said Maritza Perez Medina, Director, Office of Federal Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance. “Penalizing someone for drug use relies on an assumption that any drug use is problematic and that people who use drugs cannot be responsible employees. We know this is false. We hope this bill is just the start of other critical federal marijuana reforms.”

“There are many talented and dedicated people who have used cannabis and want to serve their country,” said Sgt. Terry Blevins (Fmr.), a former civilian investigator for the Department of Defense, Arizona Police Sergeant, and Board Member for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. “Compromising recruitment by our federal agencies with antiquated cannabis laws makes our nation less safe in the face of security threats we face globally.”

“For too long, the federal government has been denying Americans civil service opportunities solely because of its outdated attitudes toward cannabis and those who consume it,” said Morgan Fox, Political Director at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Denying these millions of Americans consideration for employment and security clearances is discriminatory and it unnecessarily shrinks the talent pool available for these important jobs. NORML commends the sponsors for working to undo this policy and replace it with fair and sensible hiring and clearance practices that will put America on much stronger footing on the global stage.”

“Millions of patriotic, conscientious Americans use cannabis legally each year, but they are consistently penalized by outdated federal regulations,” said Ed Conklin, Executive Director, US Cannabis Council. “We strongly support the CURE Act because it will bring federal employment policies into line with the views of most Americans. Cannabis use should never prevent a qualified candidate from serving his or her country as a federal employee.”

Last fall, President Biden announced a blanket pardon to people convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law and further announced that his administration would review the scheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

As of April 24, 2023, 38 states, three territories and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of marijuana. As of June 1, 2023, 23 states, two territories and the District of Columbia have enacted measures to authorize and regulate marijuana for recreational adult use. Despite the rapid pace at which marijuana is being legalized, thousands of Americans are routinely denied security clearances and lose out on federal employment if they admit to using marijuana in a lawful way.

The CURE Act has been endorsed by the Drug Policy Alliance, the Due Process Institute, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and the US Cannabis Council.

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