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Employment Rights For Marijuana Consumers Would Be Protected Under New Bill

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The federal government won’t be able to fire its employees for marijuana use that is legal under state law if a new bipartisan bill is enacted.

Introduced on Thursday by Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA), the proposal is titled the “Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act.”

The bill, the text of which was obtained by Marijuana Moment prior to its being made available on Congress’s website, would shield a federal worker “whose residence is in a State where that individual’s private use of marijuana is not prohibited” from being denied employment or being “subject to any other adverse personnel action” as a result of a positive cannabis test. An exception is laid out if there is “probable cause to believe that the individual is under the influence of marijuana” at the workplace.

The legislation builds on a narrower amendment Crist filed earlier this year that would have protected military veterans who work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from being fired for state-legal marijuana use. That measure, like the three dozen other cannabis amendments introduced during the current Congress, was blocked from receiving a floor vote by GOP House leaders.

The new standalone bill covers civilian federal employees, across departments and agencies, from being punished for their off-the-job marijuana consumption as long as it is in accordance with a state law allowing medical or recreational use.

It does not, however, cover those applying for or holding positions involving “top secret clearance or access to a highly sensitive program.”

Marijuana Moment Patreon supporters can read the full text of the bill below:

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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