Biden Administration Under Fire over Cannabis Use

Biden Administration Under Fire over Cannabis Use

It did not take long for a cannabis-related offense to appear in the Biden Administration. Last week, a handful of White House staffers were fired regarding their relationship with cannabis use. Some received lighter punishments. Here’s what we know and how this could’ve been avoided.

White House staffers relieved of doobie.

On Friday, news broke that several members of the Biden Administration enjoyed smoking weed. According to several outlets, the staffers in question admitted (for whatever reason) to indulging in cannabis. Contextually, these staffers did not smoke cannabis while on government duty (sure…). As a result, at least 5 White House staffers were asked to resign from their position. Other ‘guilty’ staffers received a more mild reprimand.

What’s the problem?

It is safe to say that the stoner staffers were not trying to turn the White House into the Greenhouse. The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors the world has ever seen. Economists project the industry to exceed $200 billion by the year 2030. As of 2021, more than half of the United States permits cannabis, albeit recreational or medicinal. Additionally, CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid associated with cannabis, is legal virtually everywhere. 

However, cannabis is federally illegal. Cannabis was added to the list of Schedule I controlled substances in the ’70s. Summarily, using federally-prohibited drugs while working an ultra-government job like White House Staffer just isn’t good politics. I mean, we just got in the White House. It would have behooved some of these staffers to not come to the President’s house blazed. This is simply another case of being too comfortable at the workplace. 

Other options for the stoner staffers

Not all of the sticky-icky staffers were asked to resign. Some stoner staffers received offers to work remotely. Additionally, these staffers must adhere to 1) no more smoking weed and 2) random drug tests. 

How the MORE Act could have prevented this situation

The MORE Act has been trying to get enough momentum in Congress to be heard on the house floor for a few years. Also known as H.R. 3884, the MORE Act was initially drafted and sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York. The MORE Act would ultimately find bipartisan support of a whopping 120 cosponsors. Summarily, the MORE Act can decriminalize cannabis on a federal level once and for all. Additionally, the act would finally remove cannabis from the list of scheduled I controlled substances. This would allow cannabis to be studied on a federal level. The MORE Act will also force a tax on cannabis at a 5% rate federally. The tax rate is likely to increase to 9% if the bill can make it through the Senate.

The MORE Act has an abundance of pro-cannabis clauses outside of its removal as its schedule I substance. According to the abstract of H.R. 3884, the MORE Act would “establish a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses, and direct the Government Accountability Office to study the societal impact of cannabis legalization.” 

Moreover, the passing of the MORE Act would “establish a trust fund to support various programs and services for individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs.” If the MORE Act had been passed into law in a timely fashion, there is a  strong chance that the stoner staffers would still be employed under the Biden Administration.

Last month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated he plans to do his part to ensure cannabis becomes federally decriminalized. Currently, the MORE Act awaits a hearing in the Senate. The hearing is projected to take place at some point this year.

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