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FBI director just joshing about hiring pot-smoking kids

During an oversight hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) asked FBI Director James Comey why he seemingly made light of marijuana use when he spoke about potential job candidates for the agency. (U.S. Senate)


Come on man, FBI chief James Comey was just kidding around when he said he’d start hiring agents with a pot habit.

In the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Comey was quoted talking about his directive to add 2,000 jobs at the agency but noting the challenge when disqualifying candidates who smoke marijuana.

“A lot of the nation’s top computer programmers and hacking gurus are also fond of marijuana,” he said. ““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.”

But at least one senator was not amused.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) asked Comey during an FBI oversight hearing Wednesday, that our colleague Sari Horwitz was covering, why he was making light of marijuana use.

“Do you understand that that 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 a dangerous path?” Sessions asked hotly.

Comey said he was trying to inject some humor into the serious subject. “I am determined not to lose my sense of humor,” he said.

“I waxed philosophic and funny to say, look, one of our challenges that we face is getting a good workforce at the same time when young people’s attitudes about marijuana and our states’ attitudes about marijuana are leading more and more of them to try it,” Comey said. “I am absolutely dead set against using marijuana. I don’t want young people to use marijuana. It’s against the law. We have a three-year ban on marijuana. I did not say that I’m going to change that ban. I said I have to grapple with the change in my workforce.”

Of course, Comey is right that attitudes toward marijuana use are changing. A majority of millennials think the drug should be legal, and even older generations’ support for it is growing.

(Pew Research Center)
(Pew Research Center)

Still, we have to imagine J. Edgar Hoover is spinning in his grave.

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.



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