Seattle, WA - March 2019: Pot products line a display case at a marijuana shop in Seattle.

A bill (HR-3884) up for consideration in the House Judiciary Committee would address a conflict between state laws and federal employment laws regarding the use of marijuana.

While some states have decriminalized the medicinal and/or recreational use of small amounts of marijuana, a 2014 policy statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and 2015 guidance from OPM stress that for federal law purposes marijuana is characterized as a controlled substance.


That means that regardless of state law, knowing or intentional marijuana possession is illegal for purposes including suitability for employment—in many cases meaning eligibility for the security clearances that are required for many federal jobs—and in disciplinary actions.

The bill before the House committee would remove marijuana and its related substances from the schedule of controlled substances, among other changes, including a provision that “federal agencies may not use past or present cannabis or marijuana use as criteria for granting, denying, or rescinding a security clearance.”

More on security clearance for federal employment at ask.FEDweek.com