With the rise of recreational marijuana use, a growing number of individuals are finding ways to capitalize on the drug. With everything from mutual funds investing in marijuana stocks to small businesses looking for starter loans and investment capital, some security clearance holders may wonder if they, too, can look to make a little money on marijuana. Many security clearance holders assume that if they’re not doing the drugs, it’s okay to participate in a business. But that logic may not be accurate.
Security clearance attorney and ClearanceJobs contributor Sean Bigley previously wrote:
Under the National Adjudicative Guidelines for Security Clearances, drug involvement– including cultivation, processing, manufacture, purchase, or distribution – is a potentially disqualifying condition. That’s right: there is no requirement that the individual actually partake in his or her own party.
Similarly, the Guidelines at sections “E” and “J” may disqualify from holding a security clearance those who exhibit poor judgment or engage in criminal activity; the federal government certainly considers the flagrant violations of its laws to implicate both categories of issues. As far as the feds are concerned, state efforts to legalize marijuana are irrelevant under constitutional principles of federalism.”
While marijuana investments are a policy gray area, the best advice from security clearance attorneys and experts is to proceed with caution. You may not lose your security clearance for investing in marijuana, but combined with other factors, it may be the straw that breaks the adjudicator’s back. If you have other issues that come up in a security clearance background investigation – issues such as financial distress, previous run-ins with the law, or employment-related issues, for instance – your decision to invest in marijuana may be seen as a part of a broader willingness to fly in the face of federal government policy. If your marijuana investments involve your direct participation – such as the sale and distribution of marijuana – you will absolutely face issues with the federal government. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and that means it’s still a policy red area.