Joe Biden's commitment to staff his White House with the best people possible has run head-on into his decades-long support for America's war on drugs.
"Dozens of young White House staffers have been suspended, asked to resign or placed in a remote work program due to past marijuana use, frustrating staffers who were pleased by initial indications from the Biden administration that recreational use of cannabis would not be immediately disqualifying for would-be personnel, according to three people familiar with the situation. The policy has even affected staffers whose marijuana use was exclusive to one of the 14 states—and the District of Columbia—where cannabis is legal," The Daily Beast reported Thursday evening.
"Sources familiar with the matter also said a number of young staffers were either put on probation or canned because they revealed they had used marijuana in the past in an official document they filled out for the position in the Biden White House during a lengthy background check," The Beast reported. "In some cases, staffers were informally told by transition higher-ups ahead of formally joining the administration that they would likely overlook some past marijuana use, only to be asked later to resign."
The Beast interviewed one former Biden White House staffer.
"There were one-on-one calls with individual affected staffers—rather, ex-staffers," the former staffer said. "I was asked to resign."
"Nothing was ever explained" on the calls, the source said. "The policies were never explained, the threshold for what was excusable and what was inexcusable was never explained."
The calls were led by Anne Filipic, White House director of management and administration.
The White House attempted to defend the policy of blackballing people who have used marijuana.
"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," an unnamed spokesperson said. "This decision was made following intensive consultation with career security officials and will 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."
Former Obama-era National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor blasted the policy.
"I find it absurd that, in 2021, marijuana use is still part of a security clearance background check," said Vietor. "To me, marijuana use is completely irrelevant when you're trying to decide whether an individual should be trusted with national security information."
EXCLUSIVE: Biden White House sandbags staffers, sidelines dozens for pot use https://t.co/yahy7dk01b— The Daily Beast (@The Daily Beast) 1616122643.0