With the recent changes to marijuana laws in Washington and Colorado, the federal government is looking to revise the security clearance questionnaire for access to classified information to reflect these changes.

The proposed changes by the Office of Personnel Management for SF-86 include a clarification that use of drugs that are illegal under federal law must be reported even if they are legal under state law. It also includes the recognition of civil unions as a legal alternative to marriage.

“Section 23, ‘Illegal Use of Drugs and Drug Activity,’ will include instruction to clarify that drug use or activity illegal under Federal laws must be reported, even if that use or activity is legal under state or local law(s),” the OPM reported in a notice published in the Federal Register.

The changes not only include the recreational legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, but also address the legalization of marijuana for medical use in 18 states, even though it is illegal under federal law.

Under the “Marital/Relationship Status” section, the definition of cohabitant will be amended to exclude legally recognized civil unions and legally recognized domestic partnerships.

For applicants for civilian Federal employment, the SF 86 is to be used only after a conditional offer of employment has been made. An estimated 263,566 people complete the SF 86 annually.

OPM is accepting comments for the proposed change through May 13 in either written form to the Federal Investigative Services, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E. Street NW., Washington, DC 20415, Attention: Donna McLeod. Or comments can be sent via email to: FISFormsComments@opm.gov.


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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.