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House Panel Votes to Ease Federal Hiring Restrictions for Americans with a History of Cannabis Use 

House Panel Votes to Ease Federal Hiring Restrictions for Americans with a History of Cannabis Use 

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A United States House of Representatives panel voted in favor of eliminating barriers preventing the hiring of people who use or have a history of using cannabis. H.R. 5040: The Cannabis Users’ Restoration of Eligibility (CURE) Act would prevent federal agencies from citing an applicant’s current or past cannabis use as the sole reason for denying employment, revoking an active security clearance, or refusing a request for a security clearance. The cannabis use, however, must be deemed in accordance with state law.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee members voted 30-14 in favor of the bipartisan bill, which would expand federal employment protections for those seeking employment in government jobs and protect current government employees.

Republican Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) offered an amendment to the legislation that would have disqualified those who have imbibed cannabis within three years of applying for a federal position. The committee handily voted down Sessions’ buzzkill amendment.

Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), provided written testimony to the committee supporting the historic legislation. “Denying tens of millions of Americans opportunities for federal employment is unduly punitive, discriminatory, and fails to serve the public interest. Passage of the CURE Act will help correct this unjust policy. It will increase the talent pool of candidates eligible for federal employment while recognizing the reality that millions of Americans have experience with cannabis and should not be denied the opportunity to positively contribute to our federal workforce,” suggested Armentano.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, who co-sponsored the Cure Act, said of the bill’s passage, “The CURE Act will ensure that talented individuals seeking to honorably serve our country are not precluded from doing so simply because they admit to having once used marijuana. I’m grateful to Chair Comer, Congresswoman Mace, and my colleagues on the House Oversight Committee for supporting these important reforms.”

Raskin was referring to Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC), who also co-sponsored the bill.

Cannabis prohibition has been a discriminatory campaign to demonize and punish cannabis users. It is partially responsible for America being the largest per-capita jailer of citizens in the world, the vast majority from communities of color. A cannabis conviction, or even a history of cannabis use, has been grounds to deny federal employment for decades.

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If eventually signed into law, the act would mean that federal employees and those seeking employment in government positions could freely enjoy the benefits of cannabis if their use did not violate the laws of the state such use was in.

The bill can now proceed to the House floor for further consideration.


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