If you’re thinking of spending your holiday cash on a marijuana investment, you may want to think again. Questions about investing in marijuana continue to stack up, as the drug continues to go more mainstream and state after state legalizes the drug for recreational use. But just because it’s legal in your state, doesn’t mean it’s a safe investment if you have a security clearance.
The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence haven’t published any official and direct guidance about marijuana investments. So, some prudence and judgment are required. The important thing to remember is that the adjudicative criteria around drugs indicate involvement. The criteria emphasize drug use, but obviously the sale or manufacture of drugs could factor into a negative clearance determination.
The other adjudicative criteria at play is criminal conduct. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Direct investment in illegal activity – even if it’s legal at the state level – could be a clearance issue. The level and awareness of investment are both critical. Some individuals have asked if owning mutual funds which invest in marijuana stocks could be an issue. Unless you’re personally selecting those stocks, clearance holders likely don’t need to be concerned. Criminal conduct is focused on willingness to follow the rules – if you’re not willfully participating in illegal behavior, it can likely be mitigated.
With more states legalizing marijuana, issues around drug involvement and current security clearance holders or applicants are stacking up. If you’re interested in a national security career, it’s important to stay away from both marijuana use and investments. The government security clearance process is focused on willingness to follow the rules, whether you agree with them, or regardless of whether your state government does. Absent direct guidance from the government and national security community, caution in marijuana investments is the best policy.