Did Some Potential Biden White House Staffers Lose Their Jobs Due To Past Marijuana Use?

It’s 2021, and even the White House doesn’t have a clear-cut drug policy when it comes to marijuana use.

Biden White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki found herself sending out a series of tweets to clarify the administration’s stance on marijuana use after a handful of staffers were reportedly fired for their past drug use. According to a report by The Daily Beast, dozens of staffers had been “suspended, asked to resign, or placed in a remote work program” after disclosing past marijuana use during routine background checks. The move to punish staffers, many of whom lived and worked in states (including the District of Columbia) where marijuana use is legalized came as a surprise for younger White House employees, who were under the impression the current administration would be more lenient when it came to past drug use.

“The policies were never explained, the threshold for what was excusable and what was inexcusable was never explained,” a former staffer explained to The Daily Beast.

In fact, the Biden administration had taken a stance in its early days on marijuana, initially telling staffers that past recreational use of the drug would not immediately disqualify someone for a position at the White House. Psaki addressed the controversy on social media after The Daily Beast broke the story maintaining the administration’s commitment to creating hiring policies that more accurately reflect our changing times and downplaying the number of staffers affected by this policy change.

It’s not just the White House that’s struggling to update its drug policies thanks to the growing number of states legalizing marijuana across the U.S. — the FBI and the NSA have their own disparate thresholds for potential candidates and policies of past administrations have also wildly varied. Still, it seems a bit perplexing that cracking down on the security clearance of a few staffers who might have lit up years ago is the most pressing item on Biden’s agenda right now.