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Will Marijuana (Now Legal) Affect You Getting a Government Job?

How will marijuana affect your getting a public-sector job?
(townsquare media image)

Now that marijuana is legal for recreational use for those over 21, how will it impact your job search? Don’t forget about that pesky little drug test.

Yet another unintended consequence of legalized marijuana is damaged job prospects for users. The Municipal Research and Services Center, a private non-profit group that provides consultation, research and information services to businesses in Washington, says recreational marijuana use could affect your ability to get a public job.

The MRSC has worked with the City of Kent, Washington to draft a letter given to public employees and perspective workers about what is legal when it comes to pot use.    Because Kent, like many cities, receives considerable amounts of federal funding for various projects, they are required to observe federal laws.

Pat Mason, who wrote the piece for the MRSC, says federal drug laws still pertain to jurisdictions covered by the Federal Drug Free Workplace Act.

Additionally, if you’re thinking of applying for a public sector job that involves driving or heavy equipment, the MRSC has this to say about legalization:

(from the letter drafted for the City of Kent)

For those employees who must maintain a Commercial Driver’s License, it should be understood that a positive test for marijuana will remain a basis for revocation of the CDL. ‘It is clear that pursuant to the Department of Transportation’s position relating to medical marijuana, Washington’s legalization of marijuana will not relieve a CDL holder of the consequences of a test that is positive for marijuana use. Also, it is reported that marijuana may stay in a user’s system for a period of time after use. Thus, a person who tests positive may be subject to CDL revocation and job loss even if technically not under the influence of marijuana when tested.’

The City of Kennewick’s website it also follows the Federal Drug Free Workplace Act. Richland and Pasco also follow the same rules when it comes to a drug-free workplace.

This is a potentially thorny issue facing cities and counties in Washington, but many experts say most cities will treat the use of marijuana the same way they would alcohol in the workplace.

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