Federal Hiring Rules vs. State Marijuana Laws

In many states across the country, marijuana use is becoming more and more accepted; laws in various states now allow recreational and/or medical use of marijuana or have eased the penalties associated with using the drug once criminalized throughout the country.
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But as our Delray Beach and Hollywood drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, marijuana remains illegal as far as the U.S. government is concerned, and that poses a unique problem from those aspiring to certain jobs within the federal government.

As the New York Times discussed in an article published yesterday, federal agencies have a grim message for those who enjoy using marijuana legally in their home state: stop using marijuana or you can forget about a career with government agencies like the CIA and the FBI.

Since the founding of this country there has been tension between state governments and the federal governments. The issue of states rights vs. federal overreach has colored many legal debates and the issue of legalization of marijuana has proven to be no exception. While states such as Washington and Colorado have made the possession of and use of marijuana legal, federal law still outlaws its use. Because of the government’s stance toward the drug, smoking marijuana is a firing offense for federal workers, meaning that people employed by the federal government can be fired for using marijuana.

There are a wide range of federal jobs from which you can be fired for using marijuana, but two agencies within the government, more so than others, are strict when it comes to the use of drugs. Perhaps not surprisingly, as our Delray Beach and Hollywood drug crime defense lawyers know, the FBI and the CIA take drug use very seriously and its likely that if you’ve used the drug (or any other drug) in the past, the agencies will be able to find out.

According to the New York Times, for example, the CIA and FBI both require that candidates be free from drug use for a certain number of years (depending on the agency) prior to hire. It’s expected, of course, that serious, top-level security and defense agencies want applicants who are as “clear headed” as possible, and that’s why they’re the strictest when it comes to whether or not a candidate has used a drug such as marijuana, even though the marijuana use might have been legal (i.e., if the applicant were living in Colorado currently and using marijuana).

As our Delray Beach and Hollywood drug crime defense lawyers know, however, those interested in working for, say, the National Park Service, while it is indeed under the umbrella of the federal government, need not be concerned. Their post for a science education coordinator on USAjobs.gov declares “this is not a drug-tested position,” welcome words to fans of recreational marijuana.

If you have any questions about this criminal issue, or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a drug crime or any other crime in Palm Beach, Broward and/or Miami-Dade County, please contact our drug crime defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you!

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