Intent to Keep Using Illegal Drugs = Public Trust Denial

Originally published at: Intent to Keep Using Illegal Drugs = Public Trust Denial | ClearanceJobs Blog

It would be safe to say that most, if not all, government workers know that using drugs is not copasetic or in line with the Drug-Free Federal Workplace policy. This applies to all tiers of investigations, not just security clearance applicants. When I find Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals cases where the applicant states…

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I have had some subjects that I definitely wondered about their responses to my questions and I repeated back their response to be sure I understood the reply correctly lol. I just drive away from the interview shaking my head.

When I’ve run into this it has usually been for a subject who works for a government contractor that has recently been determined to need public trust. Usually the subject has worked for the company for years and doesn’t really understand the public trust process or why they need it. I always ensure that they understand that illegal drug use isn’t compatible with public trust positions. Then they tell me that they understand but they are going to continue using THC because they need it for their PTSD, anxiety, sleep issues etc. I always appreciate the fact that they were honest about their intent.


Lots of Idiots these days don’t understand that just because marijuana is legal in their state for medical or recreational use doesn’t mean it’s legal for feds and that using with a clearance is even much more frowned upon.

Crazy story, i have sleep issues from PTSD and depression from military and i was “Flagged” by CIA medical Officer because one of the meds i am prescribed by VA for sleep is an Anti-psychotic. The doctor who flagged it was not familiar with it, luckily her husband worked at VA and recognized it as a drug used for sleep and so he told her about it. I was cleared but as you see, it is very subjective on knowledge-base of a doctor even when it’s a legally prescribed “drug”.

“Idiots”? What a disrespectful term to use.

I was thinking this. Alternatively, some folks who have this happen don’t want to quit their long time job or lie to the government, so they could just be saying “f it” to quitting (the job or thc) for unemployment eligibility reasons.

That’s what they are. The issue i referenced is a “No brainer”.

Our legislators need to legalize these substances so that we can stop having these arguments. It’s like the applicant said, he “found the experience very pleasant and it wears off in a couple of hours, much more easily to manage than drinking alcohol,” but alcohol doesn’t mean immediate disqualification.


The average person filling out their e-APP (e-QIP) for the first time are not typically familiar with federal law. Often, younger individuals. That being said, due to state laws on medical & recreational use- the issues are mitigated. What’s important is that they are honest and listed on the form. It’s disrespectful and judgemental to refer to others as idiots.


That’s not an excuse for not knowing a drug is illegal.

Again the fact is, some drugs are legal by state and medical prescription. Some people have ZERO knowledge of federal law.

If they don’t know that, they shouldn’t have a clearance. It’s a FEDERAL job they are applying for.

I can honestly say i’ve never encountered anyone in this forum as judgemental as you are. I sincerely hope that you are only a field investigator and not an individual of higher authority.

A public trust isn’t a clearance.


Just to correct your incorrect usage of terms, the drug is NOT “legal” in certain states. Since the state is within the jurisdiction of the federal law, the drug is in fact illegal EVERYWHERE. The correct thing to say is the drug use is not punishable under the state’s jurisdiction. If you are in a state that has discontinued the criminal consequences of drug use, you can STILL get charges (even within the state’s borders) from a federal law enforcement officer (FBI, U.S. Marshals, etc). The difference is, the federal agencies have bigger fish to fry and they are not going to waste their time on little Tommy’s twice a week pot smoking habit.

38 states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana for comprehensive medical programs or functioning recreational markets.

It is not federally legal.

HHS has made the recommendation to the DEA.

Source HHS news release: August 29 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), signaling the potential for drastic change in the marijuana market.

Source DEA website: Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are: products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone.

Before I worked for the DoD, I wouldn’t have given a second thought to whether or not something was legal at the federal level. Drugs or otherwise.

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