The FBI recently made waves by reporting that it was considering loosening its hiring practices to encourage more pot smokers to join up with the FBI. The reason is simple, with nearly 40% of Americans having smoked pot and millions smoking on a regular basis, excluding pot smokers can greatly shrink the applicant pool.

FBI Pot

Recreational use of pot is legal

Things are growing more complicated as state and federal laws diverge on pot regulations. In both Washington and Colorado, smoking pot recreationally is legal, at least by local state laws. In many other states, using marijuana for medical purposes is also permissible. So then, should people who are smoking pot legally, by local laws, be excluded from employment at federal government agencies?

Further, if marijuana legalization does indeed lead to increase pot smoking, could the Federal government see its applicant pool shrink to levels that would restrict and restrain the acquisition of top talent? As the legal environment surrounding marijuana continues to evolve in the United States, the conflict between state and Federal laws could lead to further complications.

Marijuana hiring practices complex

Most government agencies, including the FBI, allow people who have smoked pot on a few occasions to apply. The FBI is now considering allowing people who have smoked copious amounts of pot, and potentially who still smoke pot, to apply for position. The FBI, however, is finding it hard to hire people in certain positions, such as hackers, due to the high prevalence of smoking pot.

Most other government agencies have varying restrictions on people who have smoked pot. Some, such as the Department of State, tend to be more relaxed and are more concerned with drug use in the last few years, rather than several years before.

The State Department and some other government agencies is primarily concerned with hiring people who have developed an addiction or have addictive personalities. People with addictive personalities can develop addictions and/or potentially can be bribed with drugs.

Others, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) have more strict hiring policies. The ATF, for example, will not accept applications who have smoked pot in the last year years, and anyone who has smoked pot in a capacity more than experimental.

As societal and legal views regarding marijuana use become more relaxed, however, more people may find themselves excluded due to marijuana use. This, in turn, could make it harder for government agencies to hire top-caliber talent, which in turn could make it more difficult for the government to perform its duties.