As an increasing number of states legalize marijuana and the battle for top talent intensifies, the U.S. government revised its guidelines, shedding the vestiges of the “Just Say No” era. 

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For years, undergoing a drug test by providing a urine sample was a widely accepted albeit inconvenient prerequisite for starting a new job. But the legalization of marijuana in numerous states has disrupted this practice, compelling many employers to abandon the hiring rules of the past.

The federal government, the country’s largest employer, had long been a notable exception, maintaining stringent drug-screening policies. But now it’s following suit, significantly relaxing its drug testing protocols as agencies grapple with the challenge of replenishing their ranks amid a rapidly aging workforce and a competitive job market.

Over the past five years, the U.S. military granted a grace period to more than 3,400 new recruits who failed their initial drug test, allowing them an opportunity to try again. Recognizing the changing landscape, esteemed agencies such as the CIA and the FBI have also adopted more lenient rules regarding past marijuana use among prospective job candidates, …

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