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Feds Just Doubled Down on Banning Federal Workers From Using Weed, Despite State Laws
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As voters shut down prohibition state by state, the feds are still flexing their power by reinforcing that the Drug Free Workplace Program is in full effect — and federal employees will get in trouble for testing 420-positive.
Published on December 14, 2020

In a desperate move reminiscent of our (soon-to-be former) “Crybaby-in-Chief,” who’s throwing the ultimate tantrum during his final days in office, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) just made an obnoxious announcement reminding everyone that federal employees are still subject to drug tests for weed — and will be penalized if they test positive. 

As if he didn’t have anything better to do, Ron Flegel, director of the Division of Workplace Programs at SAMHSA, issued the decree shortly after the November election, where five individual states voted to legalize or decriminalize cannabis.

The SAMHSA memo came to light a week after the House of Representatives voted to end cannabis prohibition and mere days after the House voted to allow scientists to study dispensary weed.

“While several states have made changes to their State drug laws during this year’s election, I would like to reiterate, that there have been no changes to the drug testing panel under the federal Drug-Free Workplace Program (DFWP),” the memo states. “[The program] will continue to test for Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances at the established cut off levels listed in the Mandatory Guidelines.”

Insanely, cannabis is still listed as a Schedule I substance, as are other drugs that have recently been subject to major reforms. So now, SAMHSA is making sure that everyone understands that federal workers — even if they reside in a weed-legal state and don’t have a safety-sensitive position — can be tested for pot and will be punished if they test positive.

As with all the current governmental nightmares, this SAMHSA flex is part of an ongoing pattern.

In 2019, SAMHSA warned other federal agencies about CBD, saying that excess THC concentrations might turn up in the non-intoxicating compound and therefore cause an employee to test positive for marijuana. The inherent suggestion here, of course, is for agencies to tell their workers not to use CBD.

SAMHSA’s 2019 nonsense reportedly sent a number of federal agencies into a frenzy, banning CBD use by its members, including the Department of Defense, NASA, and the Coast Guard. Observers are now wondering if the latest nudge from SAMHSA will trigger a similar panic among these same federal agencies and others.

To make matters worse, this past September, SAMHSA moved to expand drug testing by telling federal employees that they should collect hair samples to be analyzed, writing, “Hair testing potentially offers several benefits when compared to urine, including directly observed collections, ease of transport and storage, increased specimen stability, and a longer window of drug detection.”

It’s as though prohibitionists know their days are numbered, causing them to flex what little power they have left. Unfortunately, until we figure out the details of federal legalization, they still have a right to do so. Bastards!

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Mike McPadden
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Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo
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