The Secret Service Is Relaxing Its Cannabis Policies to Attract More Job Applicants
Anyone that has steered clear of weed in the past year is now eligible to apply for a role guarding America's presidential families.
Published on May 3, 2023

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The US Secret Service (USSS) just relaxed its cannabis hiring policies to attract a broader range of qualified candidates. 

Under the agency's new hiring policy, any applicant that has abstained from using cannabis products for one full year is now eligible to apply for a job. Previous to the current rule change, the USSS imposed an age-based rule for past pot use. Applicants aged 25 or younger could apply if they had abstained from weed for one full year, but that age gap increased by one year for each year of the applicant's age. The rule topped out at age 28, so anyone of that age or older would need to have stayed off the pot for 5 full years.

The new hiring policy also acknowledges the proliferation of federally-legal CBD products. “It is recognized that an applicant may have used or purchased cannabidiol (CBD) or hemp-seed related over-the-counter products (e.g., oils, lotions, shampoos, dietary supplements, food) or any CBD or hempseed related drug or medical product,” in the past year, the policy notes. “In such cases, the applicant’s eligibility for employment will be considered on a case-by-case basis by adjudicative personnel.”

The USSS also draws a bizarre distinction between “personal” and “recreational” cannabis use. The agency defines personal use as getting lit with “friends and relatives,” while recreational use is “defined as the sale, cultivation, or distribution, other than for personal use.” Candidates are barred from applying if they have actually sold cannabis within ten years of filing the job application. Anyone who owns up to distributing or selling large quantities of weed is automatically disqualified, regardless of how long ago it happened.

The new hiring decision doesn't affect current USSS employees, though. Any federal employee that tests positive for THC on a random drug test – even if it’s for state-legal medical marijuana – can still be disciplined or fired from their job. Current employees are also barred from using federally-legal CBD products since many of these unregulated products contain THC levels that are far over the legal limit.

Following these rules might be especially difficult for agents who end up having to hang out at legal weed dispensaries. That very situation played out last summer when a USSS agent accompanied President Biden's daughter-in-law Melissa Cohen to a legal pot shop in California. And now that adult-use weed is legal in 22 US states, more and more agents are probably going to find themselves watching presidential family members buy some dank bud while they are forced to abstain.

The USSS is following the lead of several other federal law enforcement agencies that have relaxed their weed policies over the past few years. In 2020, CIA hiring officials said that they would consider hiring agents who had used weed or other drugs in the past, as long as they had stayed drug-free for one full year. The FBI also recently began accepting applications from people who had abstained from weed for a year in order to broaden their pool of candidates. FBI officials still ban anyone who has used CBD in the past year from applying, though, and anyone who has gotten high more than 24 times in their life won’t be considered, either.

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Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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