FBI considering changing drug rules to hire marijuana users UPDATE: Director backtracks

Director backpedals from statement that pot-smoking FBI hopefuls should 'go ahead and apply.'

Matt Bradwell
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (R) and FBI Director James Comey. UPI/Pat Benic
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (R) and FBI Director James Comey. UPI/Pat Benic | License Photo

NEW YORK, May 21 (UPI) -- The FBI is backtracking from statements about potentially allowing pot use, saying the bureaus marijuana ban is not going to be changed.

This comes shortly after the Wall Street Journal reported on remarks made Monday by FBI Director James Comey at a conference Monday, saying in order to hire competitive hackers it must accept that many of them use the drug.


Efforts to hire young cyber-agents have been impinged by the bureau's harsh marijuana policy, which forbids the hiring of anyone who has ingested the drug in the last three years.

"I have to hire a great workforce to compete with those cybercriminals, and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," FBI director James B. Comey said Monday at a conference at the White Collar Crime Institute in New York.

At a Senate Judiciary hearing today, Comey said he has no plan to lift the ban on pot use.

"I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce," Comey clarified.

The bureau's strict pot policy has further complicated hiring in recent months, as Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana for recreational use. When one conference attendee asked Comey about a pot-smoking friend who decided against applying to the FBI because of its drug policy, Comey wrote off the marijuana use saying, "He should go ahead and apply."


No word on if that potential agent still plans to apply following Comey's latest statements.

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