THE House Committee on Cannabis chair, Rep. Diego Vincent F. Camacho, wants to see legislation that would remove marijuana from pre-employment testing by government employers.
In an interview on Tuesday, Camacho said he wants to “address the issue” which is a concern with law enforcement agencies as well.
He noted that marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol remains a Schedule 1 drug under federal law.
But since recreational marijuana is now legal in the Commonwealth, Camacho believes that it should be treated the way alcohol is treated in the workplace. Employees cannot go to work drunk, like they cannot go to work stoned, he added.
The 22nd Senate passed Sen Jude U. Hofschneider's Senate Bill 22-1 which proposed to remove marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol from all pre-employment and drug testing by government employees and the Office of Personnel Management.
The measure was transmitted to the House and referred to the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee which took into consideration OPM's opposition to the bill and did not act on the measure.
In her written comment, OPM Director Frances Torres-Salas cited the Alcohol and Drug Free Workplace Policy, saying that removing marijuana from the testing list "would be harmful and damaging to the mission of government policy itself."
She said just about every department and agency in the CNMI government receives federal funding and are very much dependent on federal dollars.
To continue to test for marijuana, she added, will keep the Commonwealth "in line with federal requirements."
She said the CNMI government "cannot stand to lose" millions of federal dollars especially during these times of crises.