The United States employees over twelve million federal employees each and every year. Most of these people serve their government honestly and proudly. But a “Consumer Research Around Cannabis” study found that 11% of government employees also consume cannabis. Were any of those people to be found to have used cannabis by their employer, they would find themselves jobless. A recently proposed bill would change that by allowing federal employees to access cannabis.
What Would the Bill Do?
The bipartisan bill, which is known as the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act, was introduced by Representatives Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Drew Ferguson (R-GA) at the end of July, 2018. It would serve to allow federal govt. employees to consume cannabis without the fear of firing if they resided in one of the ever-growing number of states with access to legal medical marijuana. Rep. Crist stated that the bill was designed with veterans at heart as many federal employees are veterans who may suffer from the effects of PTSD. He said, “You’ve got to start somewhere and it seemed to me that starting with helping veterans, would get a sympathetic audience from most Americans.”
Jose Martinez, US Army infrantryman in Afghanistan, lost both legs, his right arm and left index finger after stepping on a land mine. Suffering from PTSD, doctors prescribed him pharmaceutical pills to treat the phantom pain of missing limbs, night terrors and anxiety. “I started taking so many prescription pills I was numb to the world.” Over time, he replaced the pills – over 150 a day – with marijuana. Now, Martinez fights for the ability of those suffering from PTSD to be able to use marijuana. #josemartinez #cannabis #medicalmarijuana411 #medicalmarijuana #pain #ptsd #ptsdawareness #posttraumaticstressdisorder #leavenosoldierbehind #military #veterans #heroes
The bill would still allow employees to be tested if they are believed to be under the influence of cannabis at work. Those with high-level security clearances would still be barred from consuming medical cannabis at all.
Is It Necessary?
Though some may argue it is unnecessary to allow federal employees access to medical cannabis, it is only fair to allow those who are prescribed a medicinal substance to access that substance. In fact, others may also argue that it may even be illegal for an employer to bar someone access to their medicine.
While the bill faced initial recognition, it is unlikely to see mainstream support as many politicians still see cannabis legalization as a divisive issue. With an election nearing once again, many representatives may wait until their seats are secure before taking action and granting fair access to medical cannabis for federal employees.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.