By Julian Hattem - 05/21/14 11:24 AM EDT
Current prohibitions against hiring people who have recently smoked marijuana might be making the FBI’s job harder, but the agency isn’t planning on changing its policy.
FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday walked back a claim earlier this week that current rules were making it difficult to hire good computer experts.
“I did not say I’m going to change that ban,” Comey said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce.”
On Monday, Comey indicated a willingness to change the bureau's no-tolerance policy, which prohibits it from hiring people who have smoked pot in the last three years.
“I have to hire a great workforce to compete with those cyber criminals, and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” he told an annual lawyer conference.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Wednesday said he was “very disappointed” by Comey’s remarks, pointing out that the American Medical Association, for instance, describes marijuana as “a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern."
Comey’s comments, Sessions said, “could be interpreted as one more example of leadership in America dismissing the seriousness of marijuana use, and that could undermine our ability to convince young people not to go down that dangerous path.”
Polls across the country in recent years have shown a steady increase in the public’s acceptance of marijuana use. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have already voted to legalize recreational marijuana use, and a handful of other states could follow suit in coming years.