Emerging spies may not be weeded due to past drug use

Under the legislative provisions being considered by the Senate, intelligence agencies are allowed to hire job seekers who have used marijuana in the past.

On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously approved this provision as part of the 2023 Intelligence Approval Act. The text of the law has not yet been published.

“I applaud my rules, especially the Commission, which includes amendments to ensure that past cannabis use does not disqualify applicants in the intelligence community from their service to their own country,” said Senator Ron Weiden of D-Ore. Said. In a statement on Thursday.. “This is a common sense change, [intelligence community] You can hire the most talented people you can. “

Ronald Sanders, formerly Chief Human Resources Officer of the Intelligence Community and retired in 2010 after 37 years of federal services, said: It gets in the way. The keyword here is “past”. “

Sanders, who is now the staff director of the Florida Cyber ​​Security Center at the University of South Florida, said he believes that past use of marijuana should not be disqualified for working in intelligence agencies. He said the new policy could involve drug testing and ongoing monitoring to rule out current use.

“We need an educational campaign to tell students if they expect to get a security clearance,” Sanders said. He said he “has no clue” about the fact that some of the students and teachers he met were involved in being hired for sensitive federal posts.

Chris Lindsey, head of government relations for the marijuana policy project, said this is “a practical solution for government agencies to find more and more federal ban policies keep them out of step with young talent.” I said that.

Weiden continued that intelligence agencies “need the best options available when looking for talent for unpopular choices in the past and setting aside talented people.” “I hope other agencies can support similar measures.”

Morgan Fox, Political Director of the National Organization for Marijuana Law Reform, said: This measure is “definitely a step in the right direction.”

Over the past few years, there has been a great impetus to “coordinate these policies for federal officials living in states where cannabis is legal, even though it is still illegal at the federal level.” Regarding the role of national security, “There is usually no reason to deny people’s security clearance because they had cannabis at some point. This is even more true as it is legal in more and more states. ”

Intelligence and the federal government as a whole “are robbing a lot of talent,” he added.

“This is part of a much larger conversation,” Fox pointed out, which is happening throughout the industry.

In recent years, there has been a move by government agencies ( CIA When FBI) Relax their stance and policies regarding the use of marijuana. Kathleen McGettigan, then Director of Human Resources, said: Guidance for February 2021 Past marijuana use should not automatically disqualify an individual for federal work.

In December, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Issue uncategorized memos to heads of government agencies, Obtained by Government executives“Personal use of previous recreational marijuana may be related to arbitrage. [to have access to classified information or eligibility to have a sensitive position], But not definitive. ”

According to Sanders, it’s important to enact a law on this policy, not a memo. “It’s easier to manage to enact a law than to convince a DNI successor to continue the practice,” he said.

This provision is a few steps away from becoming a law. The full Senate still has to pass the overall intelligence bill. Next, the house needs to pass a version that also includes changes to past marijuana usage policies, which the president needs to sign.

FCW Editor-in-Chief Adam Mazmanian contributed to this report. Emerging spies may not be weeded due to past drug use

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