White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted on Twitter that five staffers employed by the Biden administration had lost their jobs for past marijuana use, and social media users are upset about the hypocrisy, given Kamala Harris’ own revelation that she also smoked weed when she was younger.
The vice president famously admitted during the interview with The Breakfast Club in 2019 that she had smoked marijuana during her college days: “And I inhaled. I did inhale.”
“I think it gives a lot of people joy. And we need more joy in the world,” then-Senator Harris revealed while bursting into laughter.
As a senator, Harris has repeatedly insisted that legalising marijuana at the federal level was “the smart thing to do,” despite earlier opposing it as California’s attorney general.
Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do. Today, I’m announcing my support for @CoryBooker’s Marijuana Justice Act. pic.twitter.com/cOh3SjMaOW— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 10, 2018
Didn’t VP Harris say on live radio that she smoked marijuana— marc sommerhalter (@msommer35) March 19, 2021
However, her position might have been altered now to allow for Joe Biden’s more moderate stance on cannabis, as he is simply pushing for its decriminalisation, reports say.
People Told the Truth – and Got Fired
Using pot is still illegal in the United States at the federal level, despite being permitted in 14 states and the District of Columbia. This means that those applying for the job in the White House may have been denied a security clearance over their past marijuana use – even if they did so exclusively in the states that authorise cannabis.
In February, NBC News reported that the White House was updating its guidelines to potentially waive the non-marijuana-use requirement for those who had enjoyed the drug on a “limited” basis.
But “even under the new policy, some appointees would still not be granted a waiver, given the extent of their acknowledged marijuana use”, the report said.
Three insiders later came forward to the Daily Beast to reveal that dozens of young people employed by the White House have been suspended or even asked to resign for admitting in official documents that they have smoked weed in the past, despite earlier being told by their seniors that these instances would be overlooked when they join the Biden administration.
The report has caused an uproar, urging Psaki to clarify on Twitter:
“We 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,” she said, while linking the NBC’s report.
Psaki said that as a result of this update “more people will serve who would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use”.
But then she went on to admit:
“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.”
As a result, more people will serve who would not have in the past with the same level of recent drug use. 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.— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) March 19, 2021
This change of tone in the administration, as well as Kamala Harris’ own revelation about past drug use were slammed by Fox News’ host Sean Hannity as pure hypocrisy.
“My position is, don't tell people to be honest and then not keep your word that there could be no consequences for being honest,” Hannity said during his show on Friday, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“Just as a side note, if you're one of the people that applied, you might want to know Kamala Harris herself did admit to The Breakfast Club in 2019 in an interview, yeah, that she herself smoked weed.”
He was joined by a choir of voices on social media who were outraged by the news. Many were also curious whether Kamala Harris could also get fired now – or was her experience with weed not extensive enough?
“Hypocrisy of the establishment is unreal,” Cenk Uygur, the Democrat host of The Young Turks on Youtube tweeted.
Biden administration is firing staffers for admitting they smoked marijuana at some point in their lives. Is Kamala Harris going to be fired? She laughed real hard about how she used to smoke when she was on @breakfastclubam. Hypocrisy of the establishment is unreal. #LegalizeIt— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) March 20, 2021
Re past Marijuana use and White House Staffers. Did VP Harris admit to smoking that shit. What hypocrisy— Dr. Iverson Taylor (@iverson_dr) March 19, 2021