Over the past few years several states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized the use of marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. It might be tempting given this climate to dismiss or diminish the use or possession of marijuana by federal employees. Don’t fall for it!
Federal law still categorizes marijuana as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act. It is therefore illegal under federal law to use or possess marijuana. Executive Order 12564, Drug-Free Federal Workplace, mandates that federal employees are to abstain from using illegal drugs, whether on or off duty, and that persons who use illegal drugs are not suitable for federal employment. Even the use or possession of marijuana within a state that permits it still violates federal law and does not insulate a federal employee from the consequences of those actions. Bruhn v. Department of Agriculture, 2016 M.S.P.B. 42 (2016). Furthermore, a federal employee’s use or possession of marijuana remains adjudicatively relevant in national security determinations.
So the next time the use or possession of marijuana by a federal employee becomes an issue, remember this: it is still illegal!