Moderate marijuana use

I am in my senior year of college. I recently received an awesome job offer that requires a DOD security clearance. Throughout college, I have used marijuana experimentally. Less than 10 times over the past 4 years, I’d say. I am fully confident that I will never do it again. I feel no need to. The problem is, it has only been two months since my last use. I am very worried about passing the clearance at this point. I wish I could make it clear that I have no interest in ever using marijuana again and it was solely experimental…I am afraid it won’t be enough. What do you think? Thank you!

Sorry . . . I have to ask . . . What the hell is “experimental marijuana use”? Were you part of a study for a medical school? Were you working on testing different strains for the AG school?

You smoked grass in college. By your admission, you smoked about every 5 months for the last four years. Now, you have stopped for two months and expect that to be enough?

You’re going to have a problem getting cleared. You will have a better chance if you wait at least a year. Get a job in private industry. Do a year of grad school or go back and work on another degree. If you go through the process this time and you are denied, you will have to report that denial for the rest of your career.


I agree with Ed here. Usage that recent will be a problem.

Experiment drug use may be defined . . . But, nobody experiments for four years.

As for judgement? I don’t care about your drug use at all and I told you (my opinion) on what you need to do.

BTW: From Schaeffer’s Model . . .

“Experimental use – Drug use is motivated by curiosity or desire to experience new feelings or moods. This may occur alone or in the company of one or more friends who are also experimenting. It normally involves single or short-term use.”

“Experimental” is a terrible name for it but, note that it is associated with “single or short-term use.”

“Youthful Experimentation” is indeed a means of grouping college life choices. However, Ed is correct as are the others…2 months is not enough. Nobody knows if you will smoke in 3 months. The good news is this won’t end possibility of getting cleared in the future. But you need 12 months. I normally wait 13 just so we know we are on the plus side. Even if you submit the SF86 and it takes 8 months…you are still at 10 months no use. Other opportunities will come. A good FSO will understand and I recommend you tell them you have a few college experiences you need to mitigate first. I have declined numerous folks for that same reason and brought them back at 13 months and successfully submitted them for clearance (they were cleared). But I made sure they put all the previously disclosed info on the form. If they really like the resume and education you bring to the table, they will still be interested in 11 months. Working in civilian industry is a great idea, even as a shift leader. Get some experience managing people, time, materials, resources and the inherent frustrations that includes. In 11 months you will have experience to back up the degree.


Don’t be discouraged, it is entirely possible for you to get your clearance. I can not speak to the likelihood of getting it, but it is definitely possible. You will undoubtedly be denied your Interim due to this recent drug use, but if they proceed with the rest of the investigation and there are no other red flags (financials, etc.) and you tell the whole and complete truth, you could receive a clearance at the end of it. You must show genuine remorse and explain to them the reasoning behind the actions as well as the reasoning behind your decision to not do it in the future. If you are lucky, your investigator will ask you to fill out a Statement of Intent, which states that you agree to automatic revocation of your clearance if you ever do drugs in the future. This will improve your chances.

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Hey did you get cleared?

What I’ve read police including FBI allows up to 15 times use. That was written in Andrew McCabes biography. Maybe anonymously check with a federal agency recruiter. FBI requires a clearance.

It’s the time that will disqualify. He will have a hard time mitigating the circumstances. He’s in college now

Correct. They say that the minimum to even consider mitigation is exactly at the 1 year mark. Even so that is the bare bare minimum and likely isnt enough on its own. He has to quit and show mitigating factors as well as zero intent to use in the future.

It isnt impossible to get a clearance but it will certainly be difficult given its recency. My only advice is DONT LIE. Youll dig yourself a hole.