One way to make your Friendsgiving holiday party more exciting is to bring a pan of marijuana-laced food items. If your crazy thrill-seeking aunt or college roommate winks when they drop that plate of cookies on the table, you may just want to say ‘no thanks.’

A Canadian soldier was recently convicted and faces up to four years in prison for giving cannabis-laced cupcakes to fellow soldiers during a live fire exercise. The service member was supposedly angry with her unit and did not tell fellow soldiers about the cannabis. The incident shines a light on how increased accessibility of cannabis products can also mean more opportunities for awkward cupcake incidents.

True or False: Periods of Abstinent are Critical to Mitigating Drug Issues

A recent Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals case highlights how the prevalence of drug use today is creating more issues for security clearance applicants. The applicant had used drugs almost daily, including several years of abstinence, over the course of a few decades. His appeal is laced with language that indicates a hope for change in marijuana policies at the federal level, along with knowledge of the current prohibitions.

The applicant stopped doing drugs – but his last use was just two months before submitting his SF-86. It was a clear case of an individual who had stopped using drugs for the sake of an application – but who had hope for a different future. The applicant didn’t indicate the exact date of his most recent use, but said he had used it around holidays.

False: Even Significant Periods of Abstinence Can’t Mitigate Frequent Use

While the applicant showed the ability to abstain from marijuana use over a period of time – he also showed a significant preference for policy change that would allow drug use to continue. The social pull of those cannabis cupcakes or recreational opportunities for marijuana use were clearly present in the applicant’s background.

The Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals judge noted that some mitigating issues were clearly present for the applicant – but not enough. Two decades of drug use may be mitigated – but the potential for more use, and the likelihood for exposure to drugs – edibles or otherwise – was likely enough for the court to air on the side of denying access. When in doubt – the government always protects its own interests.


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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer