Industry updateBiden switching stance on weed use sets ‘dangerous precedent’

After news broke of White House firings, the Drug Policy Alliance urges the President to stop reverting back to harmful drug war policies
Natalia Buendia Calvillo Natalia Buendia CalvilloMarch 23, 20216 min

The Biden administration announcing that past marijuana use would not be a factor in employment and weeks later terminating staff for that exact reason sets a very dangerous precedent, says the executive director of a prominent activist group.

In a statement Monday, Kassandra Frederique of the Drug Policy Alliance urged United States President Joe Biden to stop reverting back to harmful drug war policies that have robbed so many people of their livelihoods.

Despite the White House stating in February that past cannabis use wouldn’t automatically disqualify staff, The Daily Beast reported on Friday that five people who disclosed weed use have lost their jobs, while others were asked to work remotely.

Responding to the report, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that more people would serve who would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use.

“Change starts at the top,” Frederique said in the DPA statement. “The majority of the policies we have in place today that consistently deny employment to people for drug use, arrests or convictions — and disproportionately impact people of color — started with the federal government.”

Such policies have not only failed to reduce drug use or improve safety, the non-profit group notes, but have prevented people from seeking assistance for their substance use, fearing consequences from their employers.

“For decades, the drug war has infiltrated workplace policies with drug testing and drug record discrimination,” reads the statement.

In his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden proposed automatically expunging all prior cannabis-use convictions, but recent statements from people working close to him on his campaign trail suggest he rejected an internal Democratic Party push for cannabis legalization for fears he would lose voters to Donald Trump.

Iowa politician Stacey Walker, who was on the Biden-Sanders unity task force, says Biden was presented with data showing bipartisan support in favour of ending prohibition of adult-use marijuana.

Read more: Biden and Trump must end US cannabis prohibition: NORML petition

Read more: Bernie Sanders Unveils Ambitious Marijuana Legalization Plan

In the absence of any evidence connecting drug use to poor job performance, the DPA says the flawed and discriminatory idea that people who use drugs cannot be good employees was planted at the inception of the modern drug war.

“And that idea unfortunately persists, impacting employment policies — from the White House to the local fast food joint and everything in between.”

Top photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

 

Follow Mugglehead on Twitter

Like Mugglehead on Facebook

Follow Natalia Buendia Calvillo on Twitter

natalia@mugglehead.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *