Drug Policy

FBI Takes "A Small Step Toward Sanity"

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The FBI's personnel shortage has led to a relaxation in its drug rules. Previous rules stipulated that prospective employees must have smoked dope no more than 15 times (15 being the magic number beyond which signifies a drug problem), and done other drugs no more than 5 times in the past in order to be eligible. In classic FBI fashion, these rules were being enforced to the letter, which caused problems when responsible adults failed polygraph tests on the grounds of being unable to remember if they got high 15 or 16 times in college.

But it was the CIA pinching their applicants that was the final straw:

"One of the things we came to realize was that our drug policy was largely out of step with the rest of the intelligence community and much of the law enforcement community," said Jeffrey J. Berkin, deputy assistant director of the FBI's security division, which implemented the new guidelines. "We're going to focus less on a hard number and more on a whole-person approach… The new policy just allows us a little more flexibility than the old policy."

The new rules merely require applicants to have avoided cannabis in the last three years and everything else in the last ten, which is a marginally more sensible policy than the previous one:

Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates looser restrictions on marijuana use, called the policy change "a small step towards sanity" by the FBI.

"What it really does reflect is a reality that lots and lots of people in this society have used marijuana—some of them have used it a fair amount—and have gone on to become capable and effective citizens," Mirken said. "Are we really going to stop all those folks from serving our country?"