Five White House staffers have lost their jobs during the Biden administration due to past marijuana use, press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged Friday.
But Psaki also said the Biden administration has updated its hiring policies to ensure that past marijuana use does not automatically disqualify staff from serving in the administration.
Psaki on Friday tweeted that the administration “announced a few weeks ago that the White House had worked with the security service to update the policies to ensure that past marijuana use wouldn’t automatically disqualify staff from serving in the White House.”
“As a result, more people will serve who would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use,” Psaki added.
“The bottom line is this: of the hundreds of people hired, only five people who had started working at the White House are no longer employed as a result of this policy,” she said.
Psaki shared a link to an NBC News report from last month, which laid out the administration’s new guidelines to address recreational marijuana use for potential staffers.
Marijuana is legal in a number of cities and states but is still illegal under federal law and can be a disqualifying factor in obtaining security clearances, NBC reported. Biden transition officials told NBC that recreational marijuana use was a hurdle for younger applicants.
NBC reported that the Personnel Security Division within the White House would, on a case-by-case basis, waive a requirement that potential appointees in the Executive Office of the President be eligible for a top- secret clearance and it would only be granted to those who have used marijuana on a “limited basis.”
It is unclear which staffers lost their jobs due to their marijuana use.