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US President Joe Biden has been criticised by fellow Democrats after staffers were either fired or sidelined for smoking marijuana.
On Friday, March 19, it emerged that dozens of young staffers were either suspended, told to work remotely or asked to resign after informing the White House they’d smoked cannabis.
The policy has been slammed by several commentators and lawmakers, particularly considering the marijuana use took place in states where the drug is legal, either medically or recreationally – however, it’s still illegal under federal law.
Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman of California told The Daily Beast: ‘I want to find out how and why this happened, and obviously I’m going to urge them to change course. This administration promised a more enlightened approach, but somewhere along the line they reverted to the dogma.’
Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who’s also the co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said: ‘What’s happening now is a vivid illustration of unrealistic, unfair, and out-of-touch cannabis policies.’
He added: ‘There is confusion across the country because of out of date laws and the fact that the American public is not waiting for the federal government to get its act together. This is an opportunity for the Biden administration to help end the failed War on Drugs and make a more rational policy for everyone.’
Press secretary Jen Psaki responded to the controversy on Twitter, confirming: ‘Of the hundreds of people hired, only five people who had started working at the White House are no longer employed as a result of this policy.’
She also told the publication: ‘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.’
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