The federal government is significantly relaxing drug screening rules as agencies struggle to find workers to replace a rapidly aging workforce, The New York Times reports.
In the past five years, the U.S. military allowed more than 3,400 new recruits who failed a drug test on their first day the chance to try again. The CIA, FBI and other agencies have adopted more relaxed rules for job candidates regarding past marijuana use, reducing required abstinence periods before application. The Biden administration is expected to scale back how deeply the government investigates past drug use for people applying for a security clearance.
Proposed rules would limit the time frame for reporting use of illegal drugs to five years for drugs other than marijuana and only 90 days for marijuana, down from seven years. “We don’t want to be disqualifying half of the population, tens of millions of people, for having done something that most of our recent presidents have done,” said Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD). Raskin introduced legislation that would make marijuana use immaterial in security clearance reviews required for many federal jobs. “You’re taking huge numbers of people off the field.”