WASHINGTON DC APRIL 02: Hundreds of supporters of the marijuana legalization rally and the censer … [+]
The Washington Post via Getty Images
Things went into the “pot” on Twitter Friday morning after The Daily Beast reported that dozens of “young” White House workers were suspended, asked to resign, or put on a remote work program for past marijuana use. This even included employees who may have lived in any of the 14 states where recreational marijuana use is legal – not to mention the fact that cannabis is currently legal in the District of Columbia.
However, marijuana remains very illegal at the federal level.
As with many government agencies, applicants were asked to indicate previous marijuana use on their background check form, and the Biden government reportedly told new hires that it was “overlooking” those who answered yes. Recently, White House Director of Administration and Administration, Anne Filipic, had one-on-one interviews with staff who had admitted to having previously used cannabis and were told they would have to resign or join a remote work program.
This move came after the White House officially updated its guidelines, which in the past allowed for “limited” use of the drug, but those who answered yes found themselves in a difficult position due to their honesty.
“The guidelines were never explained, the threshold for what was excusable and what was inexcusable was never explained,” a former employee told The Daily Beast.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to the story in a tweet Friday morning.
“As a result, more people will serve who have not had the same drug use recently. The bottom line is, of the hundreds of employees, only five people who started working in the White House are no longer employed because of these policies.”
The move to lay off even five employees sparked a firestorm on Twitter. Late on Friday morning, the hashtag #BidenWhiteHouse started developing, and many of the loudest comments came from those on the left.
“This is the stupidest thing, but it’s also exactly what the government of an old man who spent decades waging the drug war would do,” suggested Jack Mirkinson (@jackmirkinson), founder of the Discourse Blog.
Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) of news monitoring site Media Matters for America mocked the decision: “EXCLUSIVE: White House sandbag staff, dozens of sites that play the gateway to Satanism, Dungeons & Dragons.”
Political scientist Jeff Greenfield (@ greenfield64) also questioned the decision. He tweeted, “In depth analysis: The Biden White House firing staff who were honest about their past marijuana use is stupid … really, really stupid. Staff in previous White Houses who would have fallen under this rule should say this in a bulk open letter. “
Washington Post opinion columnist Radley Balko (@radleybalko) added, “This is about the early 1980s, Reagan administration crap.”
Marijuana memes are making the rounds
It didn’t take long for many to laugh at the decision on social media, with many sharing pictures of marijuana use while other pot-themed memes were posted.
Environmental activist and writer John Ludin (@johnlundin) shared a picture of him “indulging” a little while bluntly saying, “I think I won’t be working at the Biden White House …”
Then the question arose what this policy means for Vice President Kamala Harris, who has admitted smoking cannabis while studying. Some social media users openly mocked the vice president and questioned the guidelines.
“Does the Biden White House know about Kamala Harris’ work disqualifying history of marijuana use?!?!” Business Insider reporter Anthony L. Fisher (@anthonyLfisher) paused?
Political commentator Angela Stanton King (@theangiestanton) was even more direct: “Did you fire Kamala Harris? What about Joe Blow Jr.?”
These all seem to be pretty valid points, and this is where social media has provided an opportunity to directly challenge government policies at the highest levels. While Vice President Harris is unlikely to have a storm on the weather, it also serves as another reminder that previous comments can be so easily shared by the masses, and not just the traditional media.