Holidazed and confused? Make sure you think about what buying Christmas gifts means for your chances of a clearance job, especially if you’re buying drug paraphernalia.

One ClearanceJobsBlog subscriber bought his brother a grinder with a funny little design on it and was worried it would bring his security clearance application to a screeching halt.

I’m in the process of a TS/SCI investigation.

I was buying Christmas gifts for my relatives a few weeks back…and bought my brother something called a grinder that he has talked about with a little design on it since he uses marijuana. It’s labelled and sold as a “herb grinder” apparently, but I think I’m going to try and return it or just throw it away now.

I didn’t really realize that it could be illegal to buy these. I see these shops all around in malls and stuff. Now I’m worried I screwed things up with my job by doing this; I feel I would get too nervous and must mention it during a polygraph. Did I just ruin my chances of getting a clearance?

While you wouldn’t list this on your SF-86, the commenter is correct – it could come up in a polygraph. Just be honest about your dilemma and move on.


Don’t forget that all of these ‘tools’ used to smoke marijuana (pipes, bowls, bongs, and yes, grinders) actually have other purposes – to smoke tobacco or grind duh herb, mon. Simply buying these items from a convenience store, gas station, or tobacco shop is not against the law.

However, buying them for a family member knowingly for smoking the reefer is you being aware of a federal crime taking place. It’s best to remove yourself from the situation and buy them a gift certificate, or a safer gift –  like a snack to curb the munchies.


Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” This case-by-case system is meant to consider the whole person, increase process security, and allow the lowest-risk/highest-need candidates to complete the process. However, it also creates a  lot of questions for applicants. For this reason, ClearanceJobs maintains ClearanceJobsBlog.com – a forum where clearance seekers can ask the cleared community for advice on their specific security concerns. Ask CJ explores questions posed on the ClearanceJobs Blog forum, emails received, and comments from this site

Related News

Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸