Deregulation of marijuana could change federal employment regulations

(NewsNation) — The Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation to reclassify marijuana could mean big changes for potential federal employees.

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, along with substances like heroin, making current or past use of the drug potentially disqualifying for those hoping to work for the government.

While 23 states have legalized recreational marijuana, it is still illegal at the federal level. Last year, the Biden administration ordered HHS to review the classification, and the agency has since recommended reclassifying the drug as Class III, a group that includes prescription drugs that are commonly abused.

Ultimately, however, the Drug Enforcement Agency decides whether to downgrade marijuana. The DEA is not expected to make a decision until next year.

Meanwhile, in recent years, federal agencies have loosened policies on marijuana use, no longer treating it as an automatic disqualification.

A bipartisan House bill would provide that current or past marijuana use cannot be used to disqualify you from a federal job, but the bill has not moved forward since it was introduced.

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