Received SOR for Drug Use and Criminal Conduct

I received a SOR stating drug use and criminal conduct. I’d previously been granted a clearance in 2009. When my renewal came up I admitted to having occasionally used marijuana. As far back as 2010 and as recently as March 2019. These were all uses abroad or in states that have legalized, I did not purchase or possess it, I used it in social settings. I stated to using it quarterly or monthly but in honesty that’s an overstatement and it was far less than that, I was trying to overstate my use instead of understating it and being accused of lieing. I’d also stated I was mature and aware at the time of use, which having recurved a SOR means I obviously wasn’t mature enough. I also stated I would intend to use it again if it became legal in my State. I also got charged but not doing guilty of possession of marijuana back in 2005 because a friend had it in the car while I was driving.

Along with character references from my superiors what is the best way to mitigate my security concerns. I will sign a statement of intent never to use again, offer to have my clearance immediately revoked. I’m currently acting in a leadership position, I’m an active member of the community at my base, I served in the Peace corps and have moved away from the city and thus any acquaintances who use marijuana.

How can I best make my case not to be denied a clearance?

Are you saying you were cleared (active) and used marijuana in March 2019? That’s going to be very difficult to overcome. I would say that a person applying for an initial clearance would have trouble with such recent use, and they would take a even less tolerant attitude toward someone who already held a clearance.

Remember that although some jurisdictions have ‘legalized’ or ‘decriminalized’ marijuana to some degree, it is still illegal under federal law. Even CBD, which supposedly does not have THC, is prohibited for clearance holders and this keeps being communicated.

Nobody here can say for sure but it may be time to start working on Plan B.


Agree with sbusquirrel. March 2019 is too recent to be mitigated and the fact you did it when you had a clearance isn’t helping.


Yes I used in March 2019 with an active clearance. I did not understand the gravity of the jurisdiction distinction. is it possible with enough statements in good favor for me that this could be overcome though, or what could help overcome that?

Search the Industrial Security Clearance Decisions. I have never seen any with less than two years since prior usage and a favorable adjudication. Look at some of the prior decisions:


The only thing I could think of would be participating in a substance abuse program but that probably won’t help. You did say you intended to use if it became legal… well unfortunately being a cleared personnel, whether marijuana is legal or not, you can’t use it.

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You’ve been using drugs while cleared for the last 10 years?

And now you want to mitigate it?


You’ve answered all your questions you pose here and basically unfavorably adjudicated yourself. If you have or are seeking a clearance, do not use ANY illegal substances. Period. Fed law trumps state law here. It does not matter if you used it for fun or only in “social settings,” and your opinions on usage do not matter. Using is using. And do not over-report on your security forms.

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Thanks, yes I’ve looked through those. Those cases have more involved then just marijuana use, almost all drug ones involve lieing about it. I’ve found some attorneys websites that’s have examples of cases w use within the year that they managed to keep clearance.

I guess I’ll be hiring an attorney tomorrow.

Is there any weight to letters from my supervisors needing me to retain a clearance for a large amount of upcoming work that is classified and its importance to the national interest?

Yes, I went back and thought through and it was 6 instances of use over 10 yrs. I did not realize that it would matter if legal in the state I was in, as indicated by my intent to use if legal in my State. That has certainly changed my thoughts on it.

I’ll be hiring an attorney in hopes my exemplary record, the fact I was forthright w the information and performance along w active involvement in the community at my base can help mitigate my instances of poor judgement. I’ve also moved since the interview and no longer associate w any users.

Thank you all for you honest input.

[quote=“Tony1, post:1, topic:8630”]
I will sign a statement of intent never to use again,
[/quote]I also stated I would intend to use it again if it became legal in my State.


Yes I know, but that thought has changed.

After talking to my SMO I feel much better today. I was combing through that list of decisions the other night pretty panicked. Going through it now, much more calmly, so many of the denied ones are people who lied or had other factors like not responding to the SOR or being combative. A surprising one was someone who’d used while holding a clearance and then lied about it but still was granted access.

The problem I see is you admitted you would do it again if legalized in your state. I live in a state where it is legal. I still cannot use because it is still against federal law.

My story is on this site someplace. I ultimately lost my clearance and had the choice of either resigning or being removed from the agency I was employed with. Lawyers and appealing didn’t help me one bit. I did reenter the Federal Government as I am very persistent and tenacious. It is a non-clearance position which and many grade levels lower then I had when I was escorted out of the building that fateful day, but I am back in. My re-entry back into the Federal Government was less then two years from the date I was suspended and nine months from the date I ultimately resigned.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. In talking to my supervisor we’ll most likely get me a job through a contractor on our base in a position that doesn’t require a clearance until I can get a clearance should mine be revoked. In looking through your situation I think the omission of information was a greater ding than the marijuana use. That said, even though I was candid I did still use marijuana with a clearance which is very difficult to overcome. I will do everything I can and hope that reference letters from various supervisors will help inform the adjudicator that my ongoing classified work and specialized skills are in the national interest and that my contributions outweigh my transgressions. That said there’s no way to know till it’s all done.

Why would you think it was okay to use? You know it is illegal and the DoD is pretty clear that as long as it remains illegal it will in most cases prevent you from obtaining a security clearance. The fact that you already had a clearance and knowingly broke the law is just about as unfavorable you are going to get if I were an adjudicator.

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I agree with everything you’re saying except that I knew. I genuinely was oblivious and that when in a state that it’s legal that it was ok. I know that’s not an excuse but just the facts, I take responsibility for what I did and I’m not pleased that I self reported all this information. I’ve taken the steps to mitigate that are spelled out and trying to prepare the best response possible. Cases can go either way, it depends on the adjudicator. I definitely agree I have an uphill battle but I can’t not fight it, especially when I thought it was ok. I’ve got 11 years with the government and would be heartbroken to have to stop

Was this smoked or ingested some other way?