Federal jobs cannabis use 90 days
Federal jobs cannabis use 90 days

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Is Back? - Federal Job Applicants Don't Have to Admit Weed Use Unless It Was in the Past 90 Days

The Federal government says to only tell us you smoked weed if it was in the last 3 months

Posted by:
jsp1073 on Friday Dec 2, 2022

federal jobs marijuana use

Last week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it is proposing a cannabis-related reform that can prevent employers and hiring managers from asking about a candidate's cannabis use habit, provided the applicant has not used cannabis in 90 days, that is, three months.


Although not finalized, this announcement could be one of the best to hit the cannabis industry this year. Cannabis lovers and supporters with a use history will be able to work in any field of their choice, depending on how far their last use was. According to the press release published in the Federal Register notice some days ago, the public will have about two months to comment and make suggestions for the proposed reform.


The present SF85, SF85P, SF 85P-S, and SF86 laws, which each cover occupations of different levels of sensitivity and security, will be replaced by the proposed Personnel Vetting Questionnaire (PVQ). Additionally, OPM is proposing to give applicants a chance to elaborate on the nature of their use in addition to separating marijuana from the list with other prohibited narcotics into its own separate set of questions and drastically shortening the duration, with some exceptions.


The most significant change for all affected

Amid the state-wide cannabis legalization processes in various regions and municipalites, the OPM's amendment will ensure a widened pool of qualified federal workers with past cannabis use habits.


The timeline for the cannabis use questions would be revised so that individuals will only be questioned about consumption that happened within the preceding 90 days unless they used cannabis while working in a position involving criminal justice, public safety, or national security. This is one of the most important changes. However, for specific sensitive job roles, the employers can inquire about usage that happens whenever.


The measure emphasized that regardless of the level of security of the position being sought, the necessary papers that candidates are currently needed to fill out inquire about any marijuana use within the last one, five, or seven years. It's never been simple to get a job with the government. Although the type of job and the government agency make a difference, tight regulations have always applied to federal employment. But with this proposed measure, the government is set to lead other industries by example by relaxing employment policies regarding cannabis use.


One of the best highlights of the proposed OPM measure is that the new form states that any applicant with a history of using products with less than 0.3% THC can choose not to report it to their potential employers because such marijuana products are considered legal hemp according to federal laws. This could be the beginning of significant progress in the U.S. cannabis industry, in conjunction with President Biden's recent plans to expunge the records of no-violent cannabis offenses.


A Win-win For Employers And Employees

This proposal marks actual progress for American employers as employees will no longer have to lie about cannabis use. These modifications would provide federal employers access to additional information about applicants' cannabis use and aid them in improving their hiring practices. A potential employee might be questioned further and given a chance to explain if they admit to recreational cannabis within the previous 90 days.


The OPM stated in its initial announcement regarding the draft documents that "generally, use of drugs by federal workers is forbidden, while previous marijuana use by candidates is assessed on a case-by-case basis when agencies make trust decisions. Given the state-level legal language used to describe marijuana use, separating past marijuana usage from previous use of other illicit drugs on the PVQ can increase the pool of candidates for positions as federal employees and federal contractors.


According to OPM, the policy change is required to simplify the numerous existing pieces of information into parts that build upon one another per the risk and sensitivity of the position. This will allow for more efficiency in screening processes and reduce the burden on people who move to positions of greater risk or sensitivity.


Although the Biden administration implemented a policy allowing for waivers to be given to some employees who mention prior cannabis usage, some politicians are pushing for further change.


More on cannabis use and employment chances in the US

This year, the nation's largest union for federal employees adopted a resolution supporting cannabis legalization and calling for eliminating regulations that penalize federal employees for using weed outside of work hours in areas where the drug is legal. Although the details of the final form have not yet been made public, the measure is known as "Resolution to Support Deleting Responsible Off-Duty Marijuana Use from Suitability Criteria."


The proposal was approved by the 700,000 government workers represented by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) at its 42nd National Convention in June. According to the draft resolution, "marijuana usage is becoming more accepted in American society, including as a form of medical therapy for people who have served in the armed forces and others." Furthermore, it adds that "federal prohibitions unjustifiably portray pot use as a security risk."


Members of AFGE also called on the OPM to modify its policies which addressed workers using cannabis during off-hours or unemployed phases, primarily if they work in non-national security and non-sensitive positions.


Other developments regarding marijuana and jobs are also taking place. Avril Haines, director of national intelligence (DNI), stated at the onset of this year that candidates for security clearance who had used cannabis should not be automatically disqualified when seeking a position with the federal government.


It is noteworthy that the FBI revised its screening guidelines last year. The federal agency now accepts job applications from those who have abstained from cannabis use for an entire year.


Bottom Line

If the 90-day question is answered affirmatively while a person is employed in a position of national security, public safety, or criminal justice, they will be asked additional questions about when they first used it in that capacity, when they last used it, how often they use it, and the "events surrounding your use."


Although marijuana use outside of the 90-day window would also need to be taken into account for those who work in those particular sectors.





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