Marijuana decriminalization, and legalization of recreational use has made the topic as clear as mud for security clearance holders.
We’ve previously written about a clearance holder’s spouse using medicinal marijuana and how it may impact security clearance eligibility. Most security clearance holders assume that if they’re not the one doing drugs, it’s fine to be a spectator. Unfortunately, being aware of federally illegal activity isn’t a spectator sport.
Find yourself turning down dates because your prospects smoke weed? One Reddit user feels your pain:
(Rant about dating) I’m really starting to get annoyed with having to turn away what are most likely great women, simply because they smoke weed.
DRUG QUESTIONS ON THE SF-86
As always, we encourage honesty when filling out forms like the SF-86. Don’t overanalyze the questions, but be sure you’re answering the question the form is actually asking. Most questions start with “In the last seven (7) years…”
- Have you illegally used any drugs or controlled substances? Use of a drug or controlled substance includes injecting, snorting, inhaling, swallowing, experimenting with or otherwise consuming any drug or controlled substance.
- In the last seven (7) years have you intentionally engaged in the misuse of prescription drugs, regardless of whether the drugs were prescribed for you or someone else?
- Do you intend to use this drug or controlled substance in the future?
Note that all of these questions pertain to the applicant, not a significant other (current or potential).
KNOWN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY
The big caveat is that as a clearance holder, adverse issues must be reported to your Facility Security Officer (FSO). Knowingly associating with a drug user could pose a problem.
If you happen upon a woman who you believe is your ‘dream girl’, talk to them about the issue if your clearance job is important to you: “I need to stay away from drugs for my job, so while we’re dating, can you steer clear of that?” If she’s unwilling, then it may be best to explore your other options with federal law-abiding citizens. The potential new love of your life doesn’t have to give up drugs to stay a swipe right – they just need to not do drugs with or around you. If the relationship gets more serious you can discuss the details of possessing a security clearance and why drugs may be an issue (feel free to send them this article!) If it’s early in the relationship there’s no reason to reveal you have to steer clear of drugs due to your national security career – there are plenty of other vocations that are a drug free zone.
With more and more states jumping on the legalization bandwagon, there could be more cases of cohabitants who smoke weed with applicants still obtaining security clearance. If you tell your date, spouse, or cohabitant to lie about their marijuana use, then you would be in trouble, mostly likely heading to the DOHA section on our news site.
It’s best to be up front and honest, and ignorance is bliss applies here, ultimately. You can create a plan for how your significant other can toke up when you’re not around – or just move on.