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WASHINGTON The F-B-I may be ready to relax its hiring rules -- so it can hire agents even if they've done a little pot-smoking in the past.

At issue is just how often applicants could have used marijuana or other illegal drugs earlier in life. Some senior F-B-I managers have been frustrated by not being able to hire applicants they want because of occasional marijuana use in college.

Current rules prohibit the hiring of anyone who used marijuana in the past three years, or more than 15 times ever.

A bureau spokesman says easing the rule is being considered. But even if it's eased, the tougher standard will still apply to special agents, the fabled "G-men" who do most of the criminal investigations.

Retired anti-drug czar General Barry McCaffrey says F-B-I integrity is a "national treasure." But he says there should be no "hard-and-fast rule."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
 
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