The Biden administration is issuing new guidelines that will address filling key White House positions and people who have had past recreational marijuana use.
Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and is therefore a potentially disqualifying factor in obtaining security clearances.
The White House will now, on a case-by-case basis, waive a requirement that potential appointees in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) be eligible for a “Top Secret” clearance.
A waiver would only be granted to those who have used marijuana on a “limited” basis and who are in positions that don’t ultimately require a security clearance.
A White House official said that the new guidelines would “effectively protect our national security while modernizing policies to ensure that talented and otherwise well-qualified applicants with limited marijuana use will not be barred from serving the American people.”
“President Biden is committed to bringing the best people into government — especially the young people whose commitment to public service can deepen in these positions and who can play leadership roles in our country for decades to come,” a White House official said in a statement to NBC News.
“The White House’s policy will maintain the absolute highest standards for service in government that the President expects from his administration, while acknowledging the reality that state and local marijuana laws have changed significantly across the country in recent years.”
“It would be inconsistent with suitability regulations to implement a policy of finding an individual unfit or unsuitable for federal service solely on the basis of recency of marijuana use,” Kathleen McGettigan wrote. “The nature and seriousness of the use and the nature of the specific position …. Are also likely to be important considerations.”