Texas: Austin Will No Longer Disqualify First Responder Applicants for Past Cannabis Use

Austin will stop disqualifying people for first-responder jobs because of prior cannabis use. Before, applicants would be asked if they’d consumed cannabis in the last three years. If the answer was yes, they didn’t get the job.

But now questions about prior cannabis use have been removed from the hiring process in Austin. The move was necessary, in part, because so many first responders have PTSD, which is a qualifying condition for the Compassionate Use Program, the state’s medical THC program.

This September, a new law took effect, which opened up the Compassionate Use Program to several more conditions, including any form of PTSD.

“Cannabis is decriminalized or legalized in 31 states for recreational use. Medical cannabis is legal in 36  states,” Austin EMS Association President Selena Xie said in a press release. “Furthermore, the Texas state Legislature has expanded medical cannabis for a PTSD diagnosis. Due to COVID-19 and the nature of EMS work, many of our first responders have PTSD.”

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