- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2017

The head of the U.S. Secret Service is reportedly relaxing the agency’s policy against hiring marijuana users in hopes of employing hundreds of new recruits within the next two years.

Newly appointed Secret Service Director Randolph Alles told journalists Thursday that the agency is loosening its eligibility requirements for would-be employees with respect to marijuana usage, CNN reported.

Under existing policy, individuals are only eligible for employment within the Secret Service if they’ve gone a specific, pre-determined period without consuming or purchasing marijuana, the likes of which varies according to the applicants’ age. Job seekers 24 years old and younger, for example, are only required to be pot-free for 12 months prior to applying, while applicants 28 and older are only eligible if they’ve gone at least five years without weed.

Mr. Alles intends to change the current criteria and adopt a “whole-person concept” to measure marijuana use when considering applicants, CNN reported.

By lowering the bar, Mr. Alles hopes to boost the agency’s roster for 6,500 employees to 7,600 within the next two years and to nearly 10,000 agents by 2025, CNN said.

“We need more people. The mission has changed,” Mr. Alles said Thursday. “It’s more dynamic and way more dangerous than it has been in years past.”

While the Secret Service has two primary tasks — protecting the president and investigating and preventing financial crimes — the agency is also in charge of safeguarding the first family and the president’s various properties.

President Trump has provided the Secret Service with an ample challenge since taking office, according to Mr. Alles.

“There are more places we have to protect by statute,” Mr. Alles said Thursday, UPI reported. “That and the fact that he has a large family. That’s just more stress on the organization. We recognize that. It’s not something I have any flexibility on.

“I can’t change the size of the president’s family nor will I attempt to do that,” the director added.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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