The application window to be a White House intern this fall opened June 6 and will close June 24, but prior cannabis use—even under state-legal circumstances—is a likely disqualifier.

Under the frequently asked questions section of the White House’s application website, President Joe Biden’s administration offers some insight for potential candidates: What are the eligibility requirements for the program?

The answer: Information requested on a Standard Form (SF) 86 that could affect security eligibility requirements “includes, but is not limited to, an applicant’s … prior drug use (including marijuana, regardless of whether the marijuana use was permitted under state law).”

Applicants who advance to further stages of the intern vetting process are required to complete the SF 86, which also instructs candidates to disclose their connections to foreign governments, criminal history, and financial debts and tax compliance, among other items on Biden’s security clearance checklist.

The president’s anti-cannabis use stance for interns is a continuation of his employment policies that came under the scope last year, following alleged reports that dozens of young White House staffers were suspended or asked to resign due to past cannabis use. 

In addition, the Biden administration released new employee conduct guidelines earlier this year, which stated that individuals who have invested in cannabis companies—including stocks or business ventures—can also be denied security clearance.

RELATED: Biden Anti-Cannabis Stock Policy Revealed in New Uncovering

The White House’s stance comes despite Kathleen M. McGettigan, senior adviser at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in the Biden administration, having issued guidance in 2021 indicating that federal agencies should not automatically disqualify applicants from federal services solely based of past cannabis use.

“OPM’s suitability regulations regarding illegal drug use do not permit agencies to automatically find individuals unsuitable for federal service on the basis of marijuana use prior to appointment,” she wrote in the memorandum. “Even where an individual has illegally used marijuana without evidence of substantial rehabilitation, agencies cannot find an individual unsuitable unless there is a nexus between the conduct and the ‘integrity or . . . efficiency of the service.’”

Furthermore, Biden himself campaigned on enacting pro-cannabis policies along his 2020 trail, suggesting the federal government should be more in line with the now 37 states that have legalized medical cannabis and 19 states that have legalized adult use. Not to mention, the White House is located in Washington, D.C., where adult-use cannabis is also legal.

“No one should be in jail because of cannabis use,” Biden said along the trail.

The president took his first step toward honoring that campaign pledge when he granted clemency to 78 individuals on April 26, some of whom received sentences based on the bipartisan Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which then U.S.-Sen. Joe Biden co-crafted and co-sponsored.

Biden has yet to take a second step.

In addition to his 2020 campaign pledge to decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior cannabis convictions, Biden also promised to support states’ rights to legalize and to reschedule cannabis as a schedule II drug so “researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.”

But when it comes to White House staffers or interns gaining security clearances, prior cannabis use remains a deal breaker.

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