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New guidance for federal hiring and firing puts less emphasis on marijuana use as a disqualifier

February 26, 2021

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Federal agencies should not automatically disqualify job applicants or take disciplinary actions against current employees for using or possessing marijuana, the government’s central personnel agency has said.

A memo from the Office of Personnel Management released Friday lays out additional considerations for what the government calls “suitability” decisions related to marijuana for both new and continued employment.

The new guidance “does open paths to great adjudication of suitability issues once marijuana use is disclosed. However, until the security clearance rules change, this is a non-starter for many federal employees,” said John Gniadek, a senior associate with the Tully Rinckey law firm in the District.

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