DEA Agent Was Fired Over CBD Use, He Sued And Got His Job Back: A Look At A Landmark Case Challenging Cannabis Regulations

In a landmark case, Anthony L. Armour, a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, successfully challenged his termination over CBD use. Armour’s legal dispute raises critical questions about the evolving regulatory landscape surrounding cannabis and its derivatives, particularly in federal employment.

Career Derailed By CBD Use

Armour’s career at the DEA faced an abrupt halt in 2019 following a positive drug test for marijuana. This result came after Armour started using CBD oil for chronic pain, a decision driven by the desire to avoid risks related to opioid dependency, reported The New York Times.

Despite CBD’s legalization under the 2018 Farm Bill and the World Health Organization’s endorsement of its safety and therapeutic potential, Armour’s CBD use –believed to be within legal limits– led to his firing.

A Battle For Reinstatement

The ensuing legal battle highlighted the contradictions in federal cannabis policy and its impact on employees.

In Armour’s lawsuit, his lawyer, Matthew C. Zorn, emphasized the lack of explicit DEA guidelines on CBD and argued for the unreasonableness of the termination. Ultimately, lacking evidence of Armour’s intentional violation of the law, the Department of Justice accepted and agreed to a significant settlement, including back pay and legal costs.

Reflecting Broader Policy Confusion

Anthony Armour’s case reflects the broader confusion and re-evaluation of federal cannabis policies. The Biden administration’s ongoing reassessment of cannabis’ legal status –with discussions about moving it from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act– and growing state-level legalization mark shifting perspectives on its use.

However, federal employees still navigate a complex and often contradictory regulatory environment, as seen in DEA communications cautioning against CBD use despite its legal status.

Armour’s Forward Path

As Armour prepares to return to his role, his case continues to resonate, emphasizing the need for clearer federal policies regarding CBD and other cannabis derivatives. His experience, intersecting with broader legal and societal shifts in cannabis perception, signals a critical juncture in drug policy reform and could have far-reaching implications for federal employment.

Read more at The New York Times.