Back in October 2005, I noted that the FBI was thinking about loosening its policy regarding past drug use by applicants for jobs with the bureau. A policy adopted in the early 1990s barred anyone who admitted smoking marijuana in the previous three years or more than 15 times and anyone who admitted using other illegal drugs in the previous 10 years or more than five times. USA Today reports that the FBI quietly adopted a new, more tolerant approach in January, focusing on current drug use.
Since most Americans in their 20s or 30s have used illegal drugs, some flexibility in this area is a practical necessity. USA Today says the old policy made it harder to find qualified employees and "created problems for applicants who couldn't remember how many times they had smoked pot when asked in polygraph examinations." Unlike the change contemplated in 2005, the new policy apparently applies to gun-toting agents as well as other employees. "Increasingly," says Office of National Drug Control Policy spokesman Tom Riley, "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. 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."
[via the Drug War Chronicle]