FBI regulations have changed, and now, would-be agents can apply to work for the agency even if they’ve previously used cannabis.
Many are applauding this as a huge sign of progress for the organization, as the FBI has updated its hiring process so that having used cannabis within a year of applying is a disqualifier, but any previous use is okay. In the past, applicants could not have used cannabis during the past three years.
“Candidates cannot have used marijuana or cannabis in any form (natural or synthetic) and in any location (domestic or foreign) within the one (1) year preceding the date of their application for employment,” the FBI’s website now states.
Back in May of this year, the regulations stated, “Candidates cannot have used marijuana within the three (3) years preceding the date of their application for employment, regardless of the location of use (even if marijuana usage is legal in the candidate’s home state).”
Additionally, the site now states that use of cannabis “before the candidate’s 18th birthday is not a disqualifier for FBI employment.” However, “adjudicative personnel will evaluate the candidate by using the ‘whole-person concept.’”
There was no announcement made about this change, but the policy has been quietly updated on the back end.
This happened a year after the FBI claimed it was “looking into changing internal policy when it comes to the use of CBD products by its agents and other employees” in regards to the current legal status of CBD.
“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” said former FBI Director James Comey back in 2014 regarding the policies.
However, the policy remained the same for people who are “currently using illegal drugs, misusing or abusing legal drugs or other substances for illicit purposes at the time of the application process.” Those applicants must still wait 10 years, and cannot misrepresent their previous drug use.
“The FBI is firmly committed to a drug-free society and workplace,” the job site said. “The FBI balances the needs of the organization and the importance of keeping the public integrity necessary to accomplish its law enforcement and intelligence missions by hiring the most qualified candidates.”
FBI Breaking New Ground
However, other federal agencies are not so quick to make this change. The Department of Defense outlaws CBD for service members, and the Air Force also makes a point to say it is off limits. The Navy has gone so far as to say that CBD is off limits regardless of being legal now. The Coast Guard does not allow cannabis use or dispensary visits, even in legal states.
NASA is concerned about unauthorized amounts of THC in CBD products impacting drug tests, based on guidance from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The DEA, not surprisingly, still requires no cannabis use for three years prior to applying.
However, not everyone is taking such a strong stance. In addition to the FBI, the Department of Transportation doesn’t test drivers for CBD. And the Biden administration grants some waivers for workers who admit to prior cannabis use, especially after getting called out over reports of staffers being fired for past cannabis use.
Although The White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tried to downplay The White House issue by claiming that no one was fired for “marijuana usage from years ago,” nor has anyone been terminated “due to casual or infrequent use during the prior 12 months,” many still feel these are draconian policies and want others to follow in the footsteps of the FBI.