Your trusty Daily Leaf correspondent was once employed by the federal government. He worked in the United States Senate, in Washington, DC, sporting a suit and tie in the US Capitol every day. Knowing his predilection for the leaf, his friends would ask him how he managed to make it through drug testing. The truth, however, is that in the federal government – as in most competitive industries – unless you operate heavy machinery, the odds of a drug test are little to none. The risk of losing a high performer (no pun intended), is only half the fear. The bigger truth is that no politician wanted to find a drug user on his or her staff and risk potential political repercussions; a tacit admission by even conservative legislators that they’d rather have a skilled drug user on their staff than a straight edge buffoon.
But with cannabis legalization spreading across the country, attitudes towards drug testing are starting change. The question is whether those changes can keep up with changes in attitudes towards marijuana use.
Because for jobs that continue to drug test, whether an employee consumed their marijuana legally or not, employers continue to enjoy the right to make hiring and firing decisions based on an employee’s weed use.
Earlier this year, FBI Director James Comey implied that the Bureau might be considering relaxing its ban on cannabis use. Currently, employees must have been cannabis free for at least three years as a condition of employment. Comey quickly back-tracked after anti-marijuana zealot (and likely future Attorney General) Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) publically chastised him, but the broader point that Comey was making – it’s hard to hire enough talented people if pot-smoking is a disqualifying factor – holds more true every day.
Here at the Daily Leaf, we’re more concerned with productive employment than firearms. All the same, we recently noted one more thing that smoking legal weed will prevent you from doing: buying a gun. Under an update to the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ (ATF) “firearms transaction record”, a form completed in all gun store gun purchases, buyers must indicate whether they are an “unlawful marijuana user”. Just in case green state gun buyers think they’re off the hook, the form reminds them that marijuana is federally scheduled, regardless of local laws.
Now, we’re not so into guns, so this isn’t a big concern for us. But personally, we can’t help but think that the country might be a little bit better off if all gun purchasers were required to be weed smokers.