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Federal Employment Law

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is an increasingly popular product in the United States. People use CBD oil as a remedy for many mental and physical conditions. Others use CBD oil as a health supplement and as an ingredient in many food products.

CBD oil can come from a part of the cannabis plant, the use of which is still illegal under federal law. Since 2016, there have been changes in the legality of CBD oil, and the current policy is evolving and complicated. Subsequently, many people are wondering: Can federal employees use CBD oil?

The answer is that it depends. Specifically, it depends on the source of CBD oil and whether it contains psychoactive compounds.

If your federal agency is trying to discipline you for using CBD oil, you need to contact a federal employment lawyer immediately. 

Is CBD Oil Legal for Federal Employees?

Before we dive into this issue, it’s critical to understand a few basic premises and definitions. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that currently remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), and it is a product of the cannabis plant. 

Another name for the cannabis plant is hemp.  However, under recent federal law, there is a critical difference between hemp and marijuana. While both hemp and marijuana traditionally referred to the same plant species (cannabis), the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) re-defined hemp as any cannabis plant that contains 0.3 % or less of the psychoactive substance Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is the main active ingredient in marijuana. Marijuana, on the other hand, refers to a cannabis plant that contains over 0.3% of THC. While the Farm Bill made hemp legal in 2018, marijuana is still illegal. 

CBD oil can come from both hemp and marijuana plants. Because federal law still prohibits marijuana, CBD oil from marijuana is illegal for federal employees to use. However, hemp-based CBD oil is not illegal for federal employees to use. 

So, Can Federal Employees Use CBD Oil from Hemp?

Technically, yes. Yet federal employees still need to be cautious about using hemp-based CBD oil. Although hemp contains virtually no THC, there may still be enough to result in a positive drug test. On top of that, many hemp products are not well regulated. This means you may unwittingly purchase CBD oil that is partially sourced from marijuana. 

This has major implications if you are a federal employee in a testing-designated position (TDP). You could face discipline if you test positive for THC, even if it is an accidental result of using CBD oil. Just in 2019, for example, a federal agent for the Department of Homeland Security lost his job after testing positive for THC because he regularly used CBD oil for back pain.  

Want to Learn More About Whether Federal Employees Can Use CBD Oil Or Not?

Even if you are using hemp-based CBD oil, you can test positive for THC. And testing positive for THC can end your federal career and turn your life upside down. 

If your federal agency is trying to fire you for testing positive for THC or for using CBD oil, you need to consult a federal employment attorney right away. At the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing,  PLLC., we are committed to protecting the rights of federal employees.

We’ve helped hundreds of federal workers employees over the years with a wide variety of federal employment problems. Don’t risk your career by going unrepresented. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Author Photo

Aaron Wersing, Attorney at Law

Aaron Wersing is the founder of the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing. Mr. Wersing graduated from the Georgia State University College of Law with a Doctorate in Jurisprudence and was the recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award. Mr. Wersing previously attended the University of Georgia, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. Mr. Wersing is an active member of his local community. Mr. Wersing acts as a volunteer attorney with Houston Volunteer Lawyers, the pro bono legal aid organization of the Houston Bar Association. He is also a member of professional legal organizations such as the National Employment Lawyers Association and the American Inns of Court. To reach Aaron for a free consultation, please call him at (833) 833-3529.

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