One-Time MJ Use while holding TS clearance

Always everyone else’s fault.


Not illegal on its own, especially if self reported, yes illegal, depending on the PTSD, may not impact it at all.

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Thanks for the input everyone. Apologies if I appeared to get a little snippy. I respect your expertise and input, and I didn’t intend to shift blame for my actions. While I never lied or lacked candor, and there were other contributing factors to the mistake, I alone am responsible, and I must face the consequences. It’s just devastating to lose a career I loved and worked my whole life to attain. Much more devastating since I was so good at it and it pretty much defined me. Not sure where to go from here if the revocation is upheld.

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Now you are getting somewhere.

Not one positive thing you spoke of, and there is tons to respect…seriously…you are well rounded, hard working, dedicated and a high achiever.

None mitigates your rule violation.

Your age and maturity level work against you. It doesn’t pass the smell test a person of your intelligence “just didn’t know” the federal prohibition against MJ use.

When you went into a litany of “don’t look at my rule violation…look at this…this…this…that…that…that” you went off the rails. It comes across as
distraction and excuse. All that stuff speaks to an amazing career and person. None of that changes. All of that is true. As well as the fact you smoked a prohibited substance and want to blame this on “nobody telling or training you.” Yet your entire life has been about major accomplishments…with nobody telling you how to get there, how to make right choices.

This is all about you making a bad choice. A very bad choice. And now you feel the weight and impact of that choice.

You sound like a great guy who does great stuff 99.9% of the time. In this one case you made a serious bad choice. I realize that has now dawned on you.

You can win on appeal. But you swore to not use before. What in your history demonstrates you won’t use again? You kept using when getting counseled, you used again as an adult.

You didn’t lean on the one possible defense of “undergoing a period of extreme stress, not likely to repeat.”

From personal experience I know it is valid. Your lawyer used what I called the “But I’m such a great guy” dance.

You clearly are a great guy. Who violated the rules. That is the only thing considered.

You are “all that.” You are also a rule violator. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

It might be best seeking uncleared work in a legal state. Then you can be that great, hard working, high achiever…who smokes without legal or job implication.

That your agency steadfastly stands behinds you is amazing. Few places will. I would maneuver to seek positions within not requiring a clearance. You clearly add great value. I think they would work to find you a position not requiring a clearance.


Please don’t put in your appeal that you received no training about state level drug use when the question says any drug use in the last year or three years. It doesn’t ask you state or federal. Did your wife list her drug use? Sometimes contractors are looked at differently. But hood luck.

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I don’t remember a question asking about drug use in the last year or three years. I’d have to go back and look, but I’m not sure that’s a question since reinvestigations are every 5 or 10. The question I recall asks about illegal drug use while holding a clearance. The incident did not happen until after I submitted my SF86. And lack of training/notification on marijuana use in a legal state was not the sole reason, it was a contributing factor among several. I have been fully candid and honest through the whole process. I don’t know how to make it any more clear than that.

Regardless, I’ve been offered a position with a contractor, making a lot more money and without the clearance hassle. Thanks for the input everyone. It has been an education.

Just wanted to let everyone know that the revocation was overturned and my clearance was reinstated (and just in the nick of time, as I was in the process of transferring to another job). Thanks to everyone for the insight. This agonizing ordeal has deeply educated me on the security clearance process and my obligations as a clearance holder. I was lucky to have the best lawyer out there, but in addition I believe what saved me was honesty, reputation, “whole person” evidence, and proactivity. For anyone going through the clearance process, please read all questions fully and carefully, and be conscientious in your responses. This could all have been avoided if I had not rushed through my SF-86. Your ability to accurately complete the SF-86 is itself a measure of how well you can be trusted with a clearance. Also, while ignorance of a law/rule may be a contributing factor to a rule violation, it is not necessarily a mitigation. If you screw up, you’ve really got to show them you can be trusted again and that your screwup is not indicative of a pattern of poor judgement or behavior. Best of luck to everyone.


My lawyer is retired now, but recommends Berry & Berry.

Thanks for sharing that. I use my own misuse of rx med to help others. Appreciate the help
…helping others