Clearance job advice

I recently received a job offer but it is contingent upon me passing the DOD security clearance. Because of some recent marijuana use within the past few months, I am pretty positive I will not pass. The rest of my record is completely spotless, so it is a shame. Nevertheless, it is likely that I would not pass the clearance.

I am not sure how to go about telling the employer…should I explain to them my situation or will that reflect poorly on me in the long run? Would it be better to politely decline the offer without reason? Thanks

Decline without reason and stop using period.

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You don’t need a reason to decline an offer but it would have been better had you cut this off before an offer was made. But, like any other position that you refuse or leave the best answer is, “I’m sorry but this doesn’t fit with my current plans.” This is the same response that you get when you are declined.

By the way . . . I’m sorry, but it’s not “a shame” . . . You make choices and then live with the rules. Your attitude can’t be that you are going to stop smoking because you want to get a clearance. That can be taken to mean that you might start again after getting a job. When you apply again in a year you will still have to report your drug use. The mitigating factors, that are likely to allow you to receive a clearance with as little 12 months clean, don’t include, “I wanted a job.” They are based around the likelihood of you smoking again.

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I would politely decline for now. If pressed tell them you need get some affairs in order. I doubt they would tell you accept being put in for the cleared function or we are terminating. But as Ed spoke too…living within the rules of society, even if you do not agree with them, is a part of earning a clearance. Otherwise you demonstrate a “propensity to not follow rules.” Though you did not speak to it your post seems to indicate you do not have any issues with MJ, and feel it should be legalized. The social mores are changing regarding it but until the federal government changes its position…it remains something we cannot use. And if one gets a clearance and continues to use…it can cause a revocation. So the reasons to not use should not be “I want a clearance,” it should be “I live within the rules of society.” Otherwise how can the government trust you will honor your secrecy agreement? Not to mentions you can be blackmailed if smoking and wanting to keep your clearance.

I appreciate the advice from all of you and will take it seriously.

I do feel the need to clarify though…I do not know why it is being assumed by both you and Ed that I stopped my marijuana use in order to get this job. I never once said that. I stopped 2 months ago for personal reasons, long before this job or any sort of job that required a security clearance was even on my radar. So I would like to get that straight, thank you.

Neither of us said that you quit to get the job. We both said that that can’t be the reason and that you should recognize that it does LOOK like that is the reason.

Like the investigation that you will go through to get a clearance, we look at appearances because that’s all that we can see.

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the manner in which you phrased it gave an impression we often see. Your response furthers an impression of a cavalier attitude towards non legal use or law in general. Our collective point back to you is "a nonchalant or cavalier attitude towards non legal items…is not congruent with getting a cleared position. " In most cases there must be remorse, and demonstration of remorse concerning non legal use. This is what must come forth in your communication. I’m not arguing pro/con MJ use. We are telling you how its use is viewed and treated. If you don’t feel current law lines up with your lifestyle, that is fine, but realize it is not compatible with getting a clearance. The reason you stopped, personal, health or otherwise can be whatever you want it to be, but it is a valid point to know the government does not view it as trustworthy and will not view you as worthy of trust because you used MJ two months ago. Neither of us are judging you, we are telling you how your response and lifestyle is adjudicated for clearance.