The bureau's pot-smoking standard, in place for
at least 13 years, was revised after internal debate about whether the
policy was eliminating prospects because of drug experimentation, said
Jeff Berkin, deputy director of the FBI's Security Division. The policy
disqualified candidates if they had used marijuana more than 15 times.
There was no public announcement of the change.
It took effect in January. The decision comes as the FBI continues its
hiring campaign and as law enforcement agencies across the USA grapple
with high rates of disqualification based in part on applicants' past
Berkin said the previous policy was based on a
scoring system that had become "arbitrary." He also said it created
problems for applicants who couldn't remember how many times they had
smoked pot when asked in polygraph examinations.
"It encourages honesty and allows us to look at
the whole person," Berkin said of the revised policy. He said it was
too early to tell whether the new standard has encouraged an increasing
number of applicants as the FBI attempts to hire 221 agents and 121