“Basically, if you haven’t smoked marijuana in the past three years then it won’t be an issue,” an FBI agent told The Register. “Any use of certain other hard drugs will bar you from joining; the three-year rule does apply to marijuana.”
It will be an issue if you can't handle your chemicals. One ought to be able to clean up for the drug test, fill out the application forms with correct (not truthful) answers, and smooth talk the interviewers. Always worked this way, always will.
Recruiting and interviewing is a two-way street. The officially announced requirement is being relaxed not to *qualify* a larger pool, but to *appeal* to more potential applicants. The agencies are not worried about employee backgrounds in these instances so much as they are adjusting their own image to change the props and set the scene differently for the hiring process.
Almost everyone has skeletons in the closet. They want smart, capable and loyal employees. That is easy to say or write, but it really defies simple categorization. There is probably significant overlap between the pool of people they need to recruit from and the pool of people that would not stand working for them. They need to change this math, thus this silly concession about pot smoking. It's really kind of pathetic. They would move up a notch in my estimation if they simply remove all stated categorical requirements and honestly state that they'll hire whomever they need in a pinch because that is the real truth. They're fucking spies, after all. But this is for low level grunt hires so they can still afford to play the charade.