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It’s 2021 and the White House Is Still Firing People for Using Marijuana

Reefer Madness is not a documentary, FYI.

Jen Psaki gives a very professional glare during a White House press briefing.

The White House has a storied history of employing racists, domestic violence perpetrators, white supremacists, and human rights abusers.

But apparently they draw the line at people who have smoked marijuana, aka more than half of all Americans. The Biden administration has come under fire for terminating 5 employees due to past marijuana usage, despite their promises that previous usage of the drug would no longer be disqualifying.

Due to these supposedly lax new rules, White House staffers felt safe to be honest about their history with the drug, only to find themselves fired. It’s a cruel bait-and-switch that penalizes honesty and openness, qualities you would think the White House would support after the relentless dishonesty of the past 4 years.

And then of course, there’s the reality that marijuana usage is extremely common and less dangerous than alcohol abuse and other drug use. After all, recreational marijuana is legal in 14 states and Washington, DC, and has been legalized in dozens more states for medical usage. In fact, only 2 of the 50 states (Idaho and Nebraska) have refused to legalize any form of marijuana usage. Of course, the use of cannabis remains federally illegal, which press secretary Jen Psaki noted as part of the reason these employees were fired.

“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. 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,” Psaki said.

“Marijuana is legal in a number of states across the country — it is still illegal federally,” Psaki said, adding that besides cannabis use “there were other security issues that were raised” around the employees. “If marijuana was federally legal, that would be a different circumstance,” she said.

Several staffers were also demoted or put on probation for past marijuana use, even usage in states where the drug was legal. Disgruntled staffers claimed, “The policies were never explained, the threshold for what was excusable and what was inexcusable was never explained.”

Add to that VP Kamala Harris’s support of marijuana legalization, and the White House is definitely delivering mixed messages. For his part, Biden has never supported federal legalization, but has called for decriminalization of the drug.

Many former White House staffers, politicians, and journalists called out the ridiculousness of the rule:

(via The Daily Beast, featured image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.