Washington D.C. approved marijuana legalization by an overwhelming margin earlier this week. The initiative passed by a much larger margin compared to Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. It’s undeniable that marijuana legalization is what Washington D.C. residents wanted. There will no doubt be hurdles to face when it comes to implementation, but I’m confident that the will of the voters will eventually prevail, and most D.C. residents will be able to consume marijuana legally if they choose to do so. I say most because unfortunately, federal employees will still be banned from marijuana consumption, even during off hours. Per New Republic:
Many D.C. residents, though, still won’t be allowed to light up. Federal employees, who make up almost 30 percent of the city’s workforce, are banned from using the drug, said Department of Justice spokesperson Patrick Rodenbush.
But unlike private employees, federal employees in every state remain subject to Ronald Reagan’s 1986 “drug-free federal workplace” executive order, which banned employees from using illegal drugs on- or off-duty. In the wake of legalization out West, federal employers like the USDA and Colorado National Park Service issued staff-wide memos reminding workers that all pot use is considered unacceptable. Marijuana use also remains illegal on federal property, and in D.C., that means legalization won’t touch places like the National Mall and Rock Creek Park, a wooded recreational area that covers a large part of the city’s northwestern quadrant.
I get that residents who work for the federal government may not be able to consume marijuana on the clock. But to say that they can’t consume marijuana at all is ridiculous. These same people can consume as much alcohol and tobacco as they want in the privacy of their own homes and won’t face any repercussions. Marijuana should be no different, considering that it will also be legal, and is far safer than the two previously mentioned substances.