James Comey

FBI Director Comey: “I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview”

Apparently, the federal government’s continued war on marijuana is making it very difficult for FBI to go after real criminals. FBI Director James B. Comey says he is having trouble recruiting qualified programmers to deal with cybercrime because of the government’s strict anti-marijuana rule:

Congress has authorized the FBI to add 2,000 personnel to its rolls this year, and many of those new recruits will be assigned to tackle cyber crimes, a growing priority for the agency. And that’s a problem, Mr. Comey told the White Collar Crime Institute, an annual conference held at the New York City Bar Association in Manhattan. A lot of the nation’s top computer programmers and hacking gurus are also fond of marijuana.

“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Mr. Comey said.

The issue has gotten so bad Comey is thinking about making the agency’s restriction a bit less draconian. Currently, you can’t apply if you smoked pot less than three years ago.

Supposedly, the reason we are spending billions of dollars locking people in cages for consuming this plant is that it’s so horrible for a person, it is worth taking away that person’s freedoms just to stop them from using it.

Yet here is one of America’s top law enforcement officials basically acknowledging that you can use marijuana and still be a very successful and productive member of society. In fact he admits his problem is there are so many productive cannabis consumers he has trouble finding many successful tech workers who don’t occasionally use it.

In a better world this would make Comey realize there is something deeply wrong with the entire concept of marijuana prohibition, and not just the FBI’s hiring policy. But at least it is baby steps.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Photo courtesy FBI