I live in California and i understand that most agencies require a polygraph test pre-hire. My question is i am 22 and have used marijuana a few months at a time for the past 2 yrs, my estimate is maybe a total of 6 months altogether in 2 years, am i automatically disqualified. Because i wanted to start the academy which doesn’t begin for 8 months and the course is 10 months long so i will of be cleaned for 18 months is there any way i can get hired or am i wasting my time. any information will be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Here are some answers for you:
Some agencies may not consider hiring someone with any type of drug use in the past several years while others are more lenient for occasional marijuana use (which is almost legal now anyway). It all depends on the agency. But one thing they will all have in common is wanting honesty. If the polygraph results show any type of deception you probably wouldn’t be considered for the job. Many of my officer friends had smoked marijuana when they were younger and were honest during their polygraph so the prior marijuana use didn’t affect them becoming police officers. Most departments understand that young people experiment with some drugs and consider it "life experience". As long as a reasonable amount of time has passed since your last use and you are honest, your chances of becoming a cop should not be hampered.
I remember one of the recruits in my police academy stated had been honest about using several types of drugs in his youth, and even admitted selling some drugs when younger. The department considered it "life experience" and because he was so honest they hired him anyway. While prior use of meth, cocaine, or other drugs / sales that are felonies are an automatic denial for most agencies, others may appreciate the honesty and give someone a chance as long as time has passed since the last time someone used. There is no "set standard" for prior drug use, it all depends on the department.
If all it was, was an occasional marijuana use, and you can honestly tell the agency you are applying at that you haven’t smoked marijuana in the last year or two, I’m sure your odds would be the same as everyone else applying for the job. Good Luck!
Even cocaine is not a disqualifier. However, try to explain why you are smoking marijuana? Medical, need etc. I would quit if you can, be honest about your past. Who can trust a lying cop?
I would highly suggest that if you plan on trying to become a cop you really rethink your life and what you do day to day. The issue is not the use of drugs or any possible disqualifier, it’s the fact that if you are using or doing anything that is even the slightest bit illegal and the next candidate is not then you will be passed over for the better more secure applicant.