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Legalization of Marijuana has no Bearing on Federal Prohibition for Employees

With the ushering in of a new law legalizing the possession of marijuana in the District of Columbia, there is bound to be some amount of confusion among the roughly 500,000 federal employees who live in the area surrounding the nation’s capital.

However, there is an unequivocal answer to any questions federal employees may have about using marijuana in states or localities where it is legal: it is strictly prohibited for members of the federal workforce.

The U.S. government still considers marijuana to be an illegal drug and fully expects government personnel to abstain from its use. After an executive order passed in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, the federal government became an explicitly drug-free workplace, with even stricter rules for personnel who have security clearances. The spreading legalization of marijuana use and possession at this point has no impact of the rules and prohibitions regarding marijuana use by federal employees. Here at FEDS we hope to make this clear to any and all federal employees in our readership that live in these areas.

For federal managers the ongoing efforts to legalize marijuana in different states across the country will present a number of challenges. If your office is located, or if many of your employees live, in an area where marijuana is legal to possess or use, some of your employees may be tempted to “take advantage” of the local laws and use the drug.

You may want to inform your employees that local laws do not change the drug's status in the federal workplace. A reminder may help prevent any issues regarding marijuana usage from appearing in your office.

While effective communication with your employees will help with the scenario described above, it also aids in cutting down on workplace allegations and EEO complaints. If you would be faced with complaints from your employees, the best way to protect yourself is with a FEDS professional liability insurance policy. The FEDS program will cover you for any adverse administrative actions taken against you, including EEO complaints and investigations. In these situations you would be provided with top-quality legal representation to defend you through the process. To learn more about FEDS today, visit or call 866.955.FEDS.

For more information on your specific exposures now, how professional liability insurance protects, or how the FEDS program differs from other insurance programs, please visit the FEDS website and choose the Executive and Managers tab. For more articles like this one, read "Yesterday's Headlines, Today's Coverage" in the bottom left corner on the FEDS homepage.


Posted in Manager Matters



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