“In an effort to ensure that more people have an opportunity to serve the public, we worked in coordination with the security service to ensure that more people have the opportunity to serve than would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use,” Psaki insisted, adding, “While we will not get into individual cases, there were additional factors at play in many instances for the small number of individuals who were terminated.” There is one statement in all the official tweets on the subject that echoes for me and makes it very clear that there is bias at work. When the Biden administration claims that if marijuana was federally legal, it would be a different circumstance, it makes me wonder if they realize that they're the ones with the power to change that, and many other policies that cause injustice and inequality. One thing is for sure, several months into this new administration the relief of much-needed change is wearing thin. I fear that we're seeing and hearing more of the same rhetoric and not enough change in how our leadership gets our country with the times, and discontinues lying about cannabis in all its forms. People should be judged by their work and accomplishments, not their cannabis use.
As a result, more people will serve who would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use. The bottom line is this: of the hundreds of people hired, only five people who had started working at the White House are no longer employed as a result of this policy.— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) March 19, 2021
After a lot of promises and winning a large majority of the American cannabis community’s votes last November, the White House recently announced that five White House staffers were fired over past marijuana use. Press Secretary Jen Psaki suggested that “other security issues” had factored into employees being let go. Psaki also insisted that the White House had considered that marijuana is legal in a number of states, but is still illegal under federal law, adding that in terms of the five staffers no longer employed, there were other security issues that were raised in making the decision. Psaki made it clear that other team members who would not have been able to serve in previous administrations due to stricter policies were currently working for President Joe Biden. A former White House staffer I spoke with, who served in a very different White House several administrations ago, spoke differently about the policy. They said that there had never been a rule against it, but mostly they would check to make sure an applicant didn’t lie when answering any of the questions. According to reports of the firings by the Daily Beast, “Dozens of young White House staffers have been suspended, asked to resign, or placed in a remote work program due to past marijuana use, frustrating staffers who were pleased by initial indications from the Biden administration that recreational use of cannabis would not be immediately disqualifying for would-be personnel, according to three people familiar with the situation.” The article also states that individuals were told past marijuana use would be overlooked, and that staffers were confused about what was considered acceptable marijuana use by the current White House. The administration claimed there were many factors involved, including use of “harder” drugs. Many cannabis users hoped Biden’s White House would be more tolerant and progressive, but the opposite appears to be true. Some staffers claiming policies with arbitrary numbers of use were being used as a guideline, like allowing up to 15 past uses in a year. (I'd love to learn how they came up with that number.) It seems the whole country, maybe the world has a giant collective memory hole. Have we forgotten the promises of bringing us together? Or have Biden’s minions changed focus toward more universal matters, with the new administration's approach to issues like cannabis being set aside? It is disheartening to see the spirit of their campaign betrayed. Psaki, as is apropos for any news in the post-Trump era, disseminated the news of these new policies and the subsequent firings via Twitter. She made a point to qualify the firings, as not being entirely based on cannabis use, and that other factors were involved. She pushed back when asked about the dismissals and explained, “The White House had worked with the security service to update the policies to ensure that past marijuana use wouldn’t automatically disqualify staff from serving in the White House.”