Aspiring FBI agents who have used marijuana use won’t be barred from getting a job with the elite crime-fighting agency, says USA Today. The FBI relaxed its drug policy without announcement in January during a drive to hire hundreds of agents. The pot-smoking standard, in place for at least 13 years, was revised after internal debate about whether the policy was eliminating prospects because of drug experimentation, said Jeff Berkin, deputy director of the FBI’s Security Division. Candidates were disqualified if they had used marijuana more than 15 times.
Berkin said the old policy was based on a scoring system that had become “arbitrary.” He said it posed problems for applicants who couldn’t remember how many times they had smoked pot when asked in polygraph examinations. It is too early to tell whether the new standard has led to an increasing number of applicants as the FBI seeks 221 agents and 121 intelligence analysts. Law enforcement officials’ view of prior marijuana use is changing. “Increasingly, the goal for the screening of security clearance applicants is whether you are a current drug user, rather than whether you used in the past,” said Tom Riley of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “It’s not whether you have smoked pot four times or 16 times 20 years ago. It’s about whether you smoked last week and lied about it.”