Biden White House asks staffers to resign over past marijuana use

Don’t let anyone tell you marijuana is no big deal when it comes to security clearances and NATSEC.

...In February, [NBC News reported]( the White House intended—for some candidates—to waive the requirement that all potential appointees in the Executive Office of the President be able to obtain a “top secret” clearance. The rules about past marijuana use and eligibility for the clearance vary, depending on the agency: For the FBI, an applicant can’t have used marijuana in the past three years; at the NSA, it’s only one. The White House, however, largely calls its own shots, and officials at the time told NBC News that as long as past use was “limited” and the candidate wasn’t pursuing a position that required a security clearance, past use may be excused.

“The White House’s policy will maintain the absolute highest standards for service in government that the president expects from his administration, while acknowledging the reality that state and local marijuana laws have changed significantly across the country in recent years,” the spokesperson added. “This decision was made following intensive consultation with career security officials and will effectively protect our national security while modernizing policies to ensure that talented and otherwise well-qualified applicants with limited marijuana use will not be barred from serving the American people.”


Marijuana is still a federal crime. So…

There’s more to it than marijuana, of course, even though most people are going to make the issue only about past and/or current cannabis use.

This is yet another misleading headline and there is far more to the story. Read other sources for a clearer picture.

In the end, the ol’ doobage is still illegal at the federal level and security personnel do not care what state has made it legal.


Agree with Harpoon. I talked to a Medical Doctor who was clearing me for a State Dept job. He said

(1) this is White House specific (meaning one agency’s policy can differ from another)
(2) there is likely more to this story than simple marijuana use
(3) that lying on your application is a felony. So don’t lie because that’s worse than saying you used it. And they get that it’s legal in some states so it’s confusing. It sounds like the goal is get you in compliance in the future.

That was my impression from one conversation. But he’s been a State Dept MD for 20 years and his job is to clear all the people with drug history.

1 Like

Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, that’s undeniably true and anyone with a clearance needs to steer clear of it for now.

That said, there’s a pretty popular opinion among security professionals both on the private and public sides that TONS of politicians probably do shadier things than those who serve under them.

The issue of marijuana usage impacting clearances is only going to get worse with time, and will continue to cost the cleared world a load of talent, as many high potential, high skill individuals can simply continue using marijuana and often make more money in other industries. They just don’t want to deal with arbitrary guidelines and they frankly don’t care if something is illegal on the federal level if their specific state permits its usage.