Spy agencies are worried that the marijuana ban is scaring off potential talent

This is not how you recruit young people

By Samantha Cole
Published May 8, 2017 7:59AM (UTC)
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Can you smoke pot and work undercover, some wonder? (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

This post originally appeared on The Fresh Toast.

Are strict rules around marijuana use keeping young talent from entering national security and intelligence fields? Is this marijuana ban hurting our country?

FBI Director James Comey has said in the past that he is “absolutely dead set against using marijuana” but then backtracked those words. Former director Lt. Gen. James Clapper recently said that the bureau might need to rethink its marijuana policies: “We need to attract new people, new young people, to the intelligence community. And they’re going to say, ‘You know, there’s too much Big Brother. There’s too much invasiveness and intrusiveness in my life, so I don’t think I’m going to work here.’ I worry about that.”


Politics blog McClatchy reports:

Last year, FBI Director James Comey said the bureau needed skilled young hackers for its cybersecurity division but that an anti-marijuana hiring policy had been problematic. He said the bureau might need to loosen its no-tolerance policy.

On its website, the CIA notes that applicants for a job may be refused a security clearance over marijuana use even if they live in a state where such use is legal. “Regardless of whether an individual is located in a state that has legalized marijuana or in a foreign country where local laws allow it, and regardless of whether the Department of Justice enforces applicable federal criminal prohibitions in those jurisdictions, any use of marijuana may adversely impact that individual’s eligibility for a security clearance,” the site says.

That’s ruling out about 14 million people in the U.S., living in 29 legal-weed states. If the federal government’s in need of millennial help with leaks and hackers, they’re likely only continuing to disenchant some of the best talent in the country over outdated marijuana policy.


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