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Congressional Committee Pushes Federal Agencies To Study State Marijuana Laws And Reconsider Cannabis Use Policies For Government Workers

A GOP-controlled House committee is calling on federal agencies to study state marijuana regulatory frameworks and continue to reconsider federal hiring guidelines related to cannabis use by applicants living in states where it’s legal.



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The House Appropriations Committee inserted the two marijuana-related section in a report attached to the 2025 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) spending bill. The underlying funding legislation that was released last week by the FSGG subcommittee also omits a longstanding rider blocking Washington, D.C. from legalizing cannabis sales and includes limited marijuana banking protections.


In the new report, posted on Wednesday ahead of a Thursday full committee vote, one section directs the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB) to examine the “adequacy” of state cannabis regulatory frameworks, including enforcement and oversight policies. The bureau would also need to work with other agencies to develop recommendations on improving state-federal data sharing, with a mandate to brief lawmakers on its overall findings within one year of enactment.

 

“Cannabis Regulatory Framework.—The Committee notes that over 20 States and territories now permit the use of adult use cannabis, while over 35 States and territories permit the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The Committee directs TTB in coordination with the Department, and other agencies, which may have relevant regulatory expertise, to coordinate an assessment of the adequacy of State marijuana regulatory frameworks, including commonalities and novel approaches to enforcement and oversight. The assessment shall include recommendations to improve data sharing and coordination between State and Federal authorities. The Department shall provide a briefing to the Committee on the findings of the assessment within one year of enactment of this Act.”


The provision could help inform a separate standalone bill that Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), the House Appropriations FSGG Subcommittee chairman, is sponsoring.


That measure—titled the Preparing Regulators Effectively for a Post-Prohibition Adult-Use Regulated Environment Act (PREPARE) Act—would direct the attorney general to create a commission charged with making recommendations on a regulatory system for cannabis that models what’s currently in place for alcohol.


The House did pass an appropriations package for the current fiscal year that included report language that would have similarly mandated the the Justice Department study state marijuana regulatory frameworks, but it was not included in the final package that was enacted into law.


Joyce, co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, previously tried to get the language added to a different spending bill report, proposing an alternative version that would’ve prompted the White House to work with other agencies to assess state cannabis regulatory frameworks. The Appropriations Committee rejected the congressman’s amendment at the time.


Another section in the 2025 FSGG report says the committee “supports” the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) efforts to update federal hiring standards as it related to past marijuana use. And it wants the office to “continue to review these policies and guidelines regarding the hiring and firing of individuals who use marijuana in States where that individual’s private use of marijuana is not prohibited under the law of the State.”


“Federal Hiring Suitability or Fitness.—The Committee supports the updated guidance on agencies’ consideration of how an individual’s marijuana use may or may not adversely affect the integrity or efficiency of the Federal government and impact an individual’s suitability or fitness for a position. The Committee encourages the OPM Director in their role as the Suitability Executive Agent to continue to review these policies and guidelines regarding the hiring and firing of individuals who use marijuana in States where that individual’s private use of marijuana is not prohibited under the law of the State. These policies should reflect updated changes to the law on marijuana usage and clearly state how agencies will assess the impact of marijuana usage on Federal employment.”


Similar sections have advanced through committee in the past, but they’ve yet to be enacted into law.


OPM first announced in 2022 that it was moving to to widen the applicant pool for qualified federal workers and recognize what it called “changing societal norms” amid the state-level legalization movement. The next year, it sought White House approval for proposed changes to federal hiring practices that would treat past marijuana use by applicants much more leniently than current policy does.


Meanwhile, Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-NC) said last week that he’s “overwhelmingly concerned” with a provision of the spending bill that would provide marijuana banking protections, and he’s threatening to file an amendment to strip the language as the underlying measure advances, potentially at Thursday’s full committee markup.

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