By Emily Ledger
This week, the White House made headlines around the world as a number of staffers were fired from their jobs after admitting to historic cannabis use. The move has drawn criticism of Biden’s administration which has previously been considered the most ‘cannabis-friendly’ administration in modern history.
Now, in an open letter addressed to President Biden, 30 lawmakers have appealed for the five employees to be reinstated. The members of staff admitted to cannabis use as part of security clearance. The direct appeal to Biden was led by progressive Democratic Congressman, Earl Baueman.
The letter, which has been signed by 30 members of Congress, representing both the Democratic and Republican parties, calls on the President to “stop legitimising unfair cannabis laws”. It also points out the hypocrisy of firing the five White House staffers while Vice President Kamala Harris and transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg have previously admitted to past cannabis use “without consequences”.
The contents of the letter, which was first reported by Marijuana Moment, continued:
“Those in the upper ranks of your administration won’t face consequences for their cannabis use, and nor should they, but the same standard should be applied across the administration.
“Repercussions for cannabis use have always been unequal and those with the most power have always faced the fewest consequences. We ask that you don’t allow that pattern to continue within your administration.”
Reports claim that the five junior White House staff members were surprised by the action as they had apparently been told that any past cannabis use would be overlooked. The Daily Beast also reports that “dozens of others” had also been temporarily suspended for the same reason.
Earlier this week, the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, claimed that the five members of staff were fired due to other security concerns. In a statement to reporters, Psaki stated:
“In the past, and I served in the Obama-Biden administration when the rules were actually far more stringent, so that is not about anyone’s personal point of view it is about working through the process and the history and modernising it and taking steps to address the fact that marijuana is legal in a number of states across the country but it is still illegal federally, right? We know that.”
The Biden-Harris administration has gained supporters as the duo’s campaign outlined potential plans to federally decriminalise cannabis. Cannabis decriminalisation and legalisation is a trend that has swept the US in recent years, with New York potentially in line to be the next state with legal recreational sector.