Drug use in another country?

Read something today about marijuana being legalized in Canada in 2017. I know smoking in legalized states is off limits (federally illegal), but what if you are in another country that is legal? Would they be denying clearances to people who travel for cannabis tourism?

Just like traveling to Southwest Asia to partake in illegal sexual activities, if it is illegal in the U.S. then don’t do it unless you want to run the risk of being ineligible for a clearance.

Interesting, didn’t know how far the jurisdiction extended! Thanks :joy:

Unless and until US federal law makes it legal it remains not legal. The SF86 section 23 a-d specifically asks if you used drugs while in possession of a security clearance, worked in law enforcement, prosecutor, courtroom official or in a position affecting public safety…along with the illegal possession, manufacture, trafficking, production, transfer, shipping, receiving, handling or sale including prescription drugs. Section a specifically states “Use of a controlled substance includes…experimenting with or otherwise consuming any controlled substance.”

So you have a reportable incident no matter how you slice it. Judging by the use of every conceivable action one could take with it I would say there is no wiggle room. If you are young (under 23) and the use is a one-of experiment, and at least 12 months have passed with little chance of repeating, you may (emphasis may) not have a problem. But the age where experimenting is youthful indiscretion and not adult stupidity is grey. The vote can go either way. My client has rejected clearances for 19 year old college students who have less than one year of abstinence.

That applies if you have a clearance (or if you hold one of those other jobs). But how about a person who did not have a clearance at the time, was not employed in any of those capacities, and just decided while on a visit to some overseas country where it is not illegal to, well, indulge?

Would the same guidelines of at least one years abstinence apply (and that’s a bare minimum, I think)?

I would revert to the age aspect. If they feel you were “old enough to know better,” and it was less than a year…chances are you will not clear. One of the mitigation’s concerning drug use is the possibility of recurrence, and the situation surrounding use. Was it a once in a lifetime high stress period? Death of a spouse or child, divorce, loss of a business…catastrophic emotional tidal wave…you MAY get the benefit of the doubt. When you say “one of,” was it one puff, one joint, or one period of participation? Was it an all nighter? Is there other conduct associated to call in question? Can you be blackmailed to commit espionage? Do you have a demonstrated propensity to follow rules and laws otherwise? My current client will not touch it if less than a year has elapsed to include minors applying for entry level but cleared positions.

Also, I do NOT recommend attempting to answer some questions as “with a clearance or LE,” others as “in the past 7/10 years,” or “have you ever.” I have seen several people attempt to claim confusion. Though I too can stumble on the verbiage…interpret it as its most restrictive. Anything other than that…you are on thin ice.