Past Marijuana Use Won’t Cost You A Federal Job, Top Official Loosens Restrictions

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While federal law on a person’s past use of marijuana remains relevant, it is not determinative to decisions on eligibility for access to classified information or eligibility to hold a sensitive position.

For years, marijuana use has been — and still is — a red flag on a security clearance review. However, the sentiment seems to be changing, as more states move to legalize the plant, Marijuana Moment writes. Avril Haines, director of national intelligence (DNI), says that security clearance applicants who have used cannabis should not be instantly rejected when applying for a federal job. This internal notice, distributed to nearly 100 agencies in late December, builds upon guidance previously approved under the Obama administration.


Overlooking Recent Past Marijuana Use & Determining Consumption Frequency

Adjudicators for federal employment should look past marijuana use alone and determine the frequency of consumption and likelihood that a person will continue to use cannabis, the memo says.

Haines also noted that the policy could be further amended if there is a “change to federal law concerning marijuana use.”

Cannabis-Related Investment Guidance

In addition, the memo states that federal employers should use discretion when it comes to applicants with cannabis investments in their stock portfolios – a novelty compared to the past DNI memo on the topic that was signed by then-DNI James Clapper in 2014.

It notes that eligibility for access to classified information or to hold a sensitive position “may be impacted negatively should that individual knowingly and directly invest in stocks or business ventures that specifically pertain to marijuana growers and retailers while the cultivation and distribution of marijuana remain illegal” under federal law.

Moreover, in terms of indirect marijuana investments, “adjudicators should presume that individual did not knowingly invest in a marijuana-related business; thus, the indirect investment should not be considered relevant to adjudications.”

However, if an individual is willingly investing in an activity, including a marijuana-related business, thus violating federal law — that could reflect the questionable judgment and an unwillingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations,” according to the document.

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