SF85P and Recent Drug Use

I am supposed to fill out an SF85P for a contrat.

I am more worried about the drug use part. I used to smoke marijuana.

I plan to be up front about this.

What do you think my chances are?

Full disclosure - I have never had a clearance / trust before, so none of these incidents were while I did.

Magic 8 Ball says outlook not so good.

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Just curious, is this because of the frequency, recent usage under one year, or purchase?

Frequency AND purchase . . . You say that you smoke “between 2 and six times a year” and you have smoked twice in the last year. That’s not giving it up. You’re just on your normal pace. It doesn’t matter that it was “social”. That’s actually the problem and the number of years adds to it.

From what you have told us, I doubt that you are, at this point, cut out for a public trust. You are regularly participating in illegal activity.

Hi, what I am more concerned with is the recent usage. I was just wondering if there’s anything I could do / say on my form / interview that would help me prove my commitment to remaining drug free besides just saying it on the form (Which of course, I am emphasizing).

For instance, I would happily volunteer for a drug test, either now or periodically in the future. I could also suggest a Statement of Intent I would sign, wherein if I violate, I would be terminated. Things like that.

I have read about people who got higher clearances or similar ones with other Agencies like DoD or IRS with similar timeframes, so overall I’m trying to be positive, but I want to make sure all my ducks are in a row before I complete / submit the form.

You would happily volunteer for a drugs test? As a clearance holder, you are already subject to random drug tests. The issue isn’t whether or not you could pass today, it’s about a year, two years from now. You’re going to promise not to break the law in the future but you have consistently broken it for the last several years. Why should anyone believe you?

I’m not trying to be harsh. I’m trying to get you understand the seriousness of what you are applying for.

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If you’re serious about a career that requires a clearance, based on the timeframe involved you might consider waiting until time and behavior indicates your level of character and integrity.

As noted elsewhere, public trust positions are usually held to the same standards as national security positions. So, the recency, frequency, and purchase are your biggest issues. There is not enough time for the US Government to ascertain your honesty and trustworthy. Based on the information @Wingthor4 provided in the original post (which the OP has since revised and omitted relevant information), I would recommend at least 18-24 months wait.

Since this is not a national security position, you will not technically receive a security clearance denial. You will likely found unsuitable and this is not reportable. Nonetheless, I could be wrong about being fund unsuitable. Since there is no reporting requirement of a suitability denial, it makes sense to go forward with the process and see how it will go.

However, I must caution you that section 25 of SF-86 and section 18 of SF-85P ask whether US Government investigated your background. So, you will need to report that the Government conducted a background investigation if you decide to go forward. This, undoubtedly, will open a can of worms as an investigator would likely ask “so, what happened to that investigation?”

In case if you wonder, SF-85 doesnt ask that question, I believe. However, agencies are moving away from SF-85 and prefer SF-85P.

Thank you all for the answers and being honest. I’m going to be frank, I find this whole process to be completely backwards and intuitive. Many of you are saying how serious this is and that I probably don’t have a shot, but I am hearing conflicting info from people I’m talking to in person who do have clearances / work in DC and are telling me this is no big deal. I also see people online who have either more frequency of use and similar timeframe or less getting clearances at a higher level, say 86S.

I’m just confused because if this is as serious as you all are indicating, why is not treated as such in certain cases? Either it is a dealbreaker, or it isn’t in my mind. If it’s not and the whole person concept is taken into account, wouldn’t you think that I would qualify based on my overall background being fine? I don’t understand how something as seemingly important as this would be left to the whims of the investigator, rather than some set of standards as it seems to be.

Point me to a story about someone with your current use pattern who cleared? I’m sure that many get away with simply not reporting their use but it often comes up to bite them down the road. There are plenty of people with active clearances who use regularly. This doesn’t mean that the standard has been lowered. Only that enforcement is difficult.

Omitting the information means lying on the forms that you submitting to the government. Not a great way to start your career in government work.

I don’t plan on lying, but I see a couple of posts on the subreddit where people were at least given interim clearance on an SF86 and were active users of marijuana up to 4 months before their application.

I also know personally 2 people IRL who admitted to smoking marijuana in the last year on their application, one within the last 4 months of applying who has an SF86 Top Secret - not sure of the agency. So while I understand that this isn’t indicative that I myself will be approved, it does beg the question of why this is so inconsistent in application.

Again . . . You are not pointing me to anything that I can go and verify and then see where your case is different. You have gone back and redacted information from your original post which is more than a little annoying.

Some guesses? “Experimental” use (terminology that I hate but is used) is pretty easy to mitigate. This means a few times at the high school and collage ages. Your original post pointed to YEARS of consistent (even if only a few times a year) use. This is much more difficult to mitigate and what the advice given to you is based on.

Interim clearance with use in the last four months? I seriously doubt it unless there is more to their specific circumstances. It’s really difficult to compare cases on a one-by-one basis. This isn’t like comparing apples to apples or even apples to oranges. Every case is different. There are too many variables.

Suggest you stay on the reddit site if you just want whatever you believe to be reinforced.

You have actual industry professionals here. You can take their advice or not. All your arguing and protestations aren’t going to change anything.

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@fed-investigator @EdFarmerIII what do you think about no use in over three years, non-habitual (10 total uses in the past during college/HS), but two small purchases 4 years ago? For a non national security public trust. This is considering substantial mitigation factors like career mobility, completely out of prior surroundings, increasing responsibility in other areas of life, moral/religious views against intoxicants, etc.

To be clear, I’m not justifying use, just changes in lifestyle that show dedication to living a clean life.

Whole person concept is applicable to adjudicative process to national security positions, but not to public trust positions. However, agencies may or do use the concept in public trust, but they are not mandated to do so. So, comparing process for national security positions with that of the process for public trust positions is like comparing apple and orange. Both are fruits, but are not the same.

Adjudication process with national security is “arbitrary”/subjective in a sense as agencies have wide latitude (if you read enough you can see how clearance reciprocity goes). With public trust, it is even more. Unless you work for the agency and has inside information, it is nearly impossible to know how the agency will make its suitable determination. That is the way it is.

You might want to read the discussion portion in this Public Trust case: http://ogc.osd.mil/doha/industrial/2018/15-04418.a1.pdf. In this case, 5 years of non-use, promise not to use, dissassociation were not enough to mitigate or persuade a judge and an appeal board.

I understand that the facts in that case differ from that of yours and I am not saying that you need to wait at least 5 years or whatever. Rather, you have the overwhelm burden to show the agency why you should be granted public trust. Based on the recency, frequency and deliberate use/purchase… you have a tough hurdle to overcome. Nonetheless, good luck to you.

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Three years clean after light use during your college years? I suspect that you will be fine with most agencies. Some look at drug use much, much, harder.

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Thanks for the input Ed, not sure if this changes anything but its either Dept of Labor or Education

I don’t think that either of those will be an issue. It’s more the law enforcement agencies where this would be a problem.