The FBI recently held a live chat on Twitter regarding a contract position for a linguist. The opportunity brought some interest and revealed that the FBI will prohibit users of CBD from employment.

The revelation came around the sixth question when the writer asked about the topic. Specifically, the question asked was “Marijuana and CBD are legal in Colorado but I was told I cannot apply to the FBI because I use them. Why?” You can read the response below.

There’s a lot to unpack with this but, perhaps the oddest of all is the fact that they brought “state” legalization up. The use of CBD, as some have noted in the comments, is actually legal at a federal level

So why does the government not allow employees to use it? How does that affect them and they’re hiring process?

A Small Step Forward

Believe it or not, the FBI’s cannabis policy now is looser from what it was a year ago. That was when they reduced the waiting period requirement for applicants from three to one year since they last used cannabis. 

It was never clear before whether that included CBD but the tweet from the official FBI account seems to implicate that it does. The current guidelines for employment – as provided by the FBI – are as follows for cannabis:

Candidates cannot have used marijuana or cannabis in any form (natural or synthetic) and in any location (domestic or foreign) within the one (1) year preceding the date of their application for employment

It’s unknown why the FBI chooses to do this even though CBD is federally legal and even THC is more and more legal within the country. Completely wiping out an entire population from their pool of candidates seems like an unwise move, doesn’t it?

How Refusing Cannabis Consumers Affects Hiring

There’s no reason to assume that cannabis use would prohibit someone from being able to be a good linguist. Especially not one that’s only working part-time (the answer to another question was that the expectation for hours would be 20.)

Why would the FBI exclude the 14% of all Americans that use CBD products? There is no benefit for them in removing CBD users but allowing people who drink Alcohol. In fact, there was no guidance on alcohol usage at all.

That is in spite of the fact that alcohol is a drug that causes the user to become intoxicated and can lead to harm. It only takes around 4x the amount of alcohol it takes to be past the driving limit for alcohol to be potentially deadly.

Contrast this with CBD by taking 4x your normal dose one day (we recommend a day when you don’t have much to do.)

This isn’t the first time that the arcane cannabis rules of the FBI have hurt their chances of hiring. Recently, NY Daily News put out a story about how they were struggling to find hackers for the same reason. 

Apparently, there aren’t many hackers that don’t like cannabis.

Why This Matters

If you’re sitting there thinking “I wouldn’t want to work with the FBI anyways,” you’re likely not alone but that isn’t the point. By excluding CBD users, the FBI is continuing to push a false narrative that there is harm to the use of a federally legal substance.

While science is far behind in proving the many claims cannabis users make about the purported benefits, there are many years of anecdotal evidence. All this points to a product that (when processed and used responsibly) has little to no potential for harm or abuse.

By blocking cannabis users from partaking in even a small, part-time role within the organization, they’re ensuring to keep all contrarian voices at bay. If your opponent isn’t there to argue, you can’t lose the debate.

There is no reason to keep users of CBD – a substance that does not even lead to intoxication – from participating if they’re interested in doing so. In fact, they’d likely find themselves with a much deeper pool of candidates that are more highly qualified and happier to work.


This isn’t the first time that governmental ignorance has come down on cannabis and it won’t be the last. As evidence continues to come in regarding the efficacy of CBD, hopefully, government organizations will lose their bias against them.

There is no benefit to excluding such a large percentage of Americans from applying to a part-time position in your company. More broadly speaking, employers rarely care about a person’s home life except in this one instance.

Only if an employee’s alcoholism gets past the point of hurting their home and personal life to where it affects their work do employers talk to them. Yet, personal use of a non-intoxicating plant in a person’s off time without it affecting them negatively is an immediate disqualifier.


That is not equal ground.

By J Gordon Curtis

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