The Federal government has begun easing its past drug use rules. Easing the drug screening rules for new hires is a great move to compete with more lenient employers nationwide. Nowadays, most private employers are focused more on mental health and less on drug use. Since recreational and medical marijuana is legal in most states, government agencies like the FBI and CIA are now taking a permissive stance towards the use of marijuana.

In fact, the United States Military has also started giving new recruits a second chance to try again if they fail their drug test! That’s a great milestone because past drug use was a real problem in the past, and it was nearly impossible to get a job.

However, it is important to clear some things out. Recent polls show that more than half of Americans use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. With such statistics, the majority believe marijuana should be legalized. Luckily, medical marijuana is legal in 38 states, including the District of Columbia (DC), while recreational marijuana is legal in 22 states. However, marijuana is illegal under federal law. This means that even if the rules on past use of drugs are eased, once hired, federal employees should not use drugs, including marijuana. The rule applies even if the federal employee lives in a state that legalizes marijuana.

If you are applying for security clearance, disclosing illegal use of drugs in the past 7 years is mandatory. Then, background checks can affirm if you are telling the truth. However, if the proposed new rules are enacted, the time frame will be reduced to 5 years of other illegal drugs excluding marijuana. Applicants will only be asked to refrain from using marijuana 90 days before applying.