Atlanta Police Department to stop screening for marijuana use on job applications

Atlanta Headlines - March 15, 2019

In a surprising policy change for the Atlanta Police Department, the organization will stop inquiring about past marijuana use during job applications. The APD has long required applicants to refrain from smoking marijuana for two years prior to applying for the force. By doing away with this rule, APD hopes to widen the pool of potential applicants, as many of those disqualified for marijuana use are otherwise perfectly acceptable candidates. The rule change also aims to assist in increasing recruitment, as the APD says it is more difficult to find applicants in 2019’s economy than it was in the recession of the late aughts.

Despite the department’s newfound leniency towards recreational use during the application process, rules about drug use while employed by the force are not changing anytime soon. Drug use by active police officers is still strictly prohibited. APD is also going to increase the number of internal random drug tests in direct response to the rule change.

This radical change in procedure reflects a change in the general perception of marijuana use, something that our society is experiencing on a national level. Now that weed is legal in some form or another in 33 states, many are coming to terms with the drug, and its use is far less stigmatized than it once was. With the House recently passing a medical marijuana bill in a 123-40 vote, could the APD’s growing tolerance be a stepping stone toward the eventuality of Georgia legalizing the sticky icky? Perhaps, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.