URGENT-State Department & Drug Use

Hey all. So here’s another drug-related security clearance question from another nervous applicant.

My story: I’ve been recently afforded an opportunity to engage in the process of joining State as a FSO. While I should be stoked I’m a bit worried about a few things. One, I’m a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer who did indeed indulge in marijuana during the stint. My last usage was in June 2018. While I’m above the one year minimum just how hard will it be to receive a clearance after I not only smoked weed but did it while abroad? The usage was very infrequent (done during social settings about 4x) and again terminated in June 2018. The reason I quit was because a friend of mine in the FS advised me to do so immediately if I had any hopes of joining the FS in the future, which I did. Prior to that I’d only done weed in college (Freshman year). How worried should I be?

Thousands and thousands lie about marijuana use and get cleared. Others admit to it and get denied. If your position requires a TS you definitely can’t lie. It really depends on who adjudicates your case. I would think you would get cleared for a secret but there are many many adjudicators and they all read the guidelines differently.

It must be staggering the amount of talented people the government turns away over marijuana but it is what it is.


In my experience one of the longest wait times for adjudication through State pertained to those whom had marijuana usage in their history. Worked a program for adjudicators for 2 years and it always seemed like they’d see drug use, marijuana, and push the papers to the side. Run into a lot of people who claim too their state allows it but they don’t think about the fed side at the moment of use. Kinda screwy

I am sure its not that many. And there are just as many talented people who have never done drugs.

Yeah. Just comes across as odd that the fed government has completely abandoned marijuana prohibition, which was based off of institutional racism to begin with, yet here in the cleared space it’s treated with the utmost severity. I can’t see how smoking weed 10 times make anyone more or less likely to be responsible with classified material. Yet someone can have multiple DUIs and they’re trusted. I know the guidelines are what they are, they just seem due for an update.

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First off, admitted marijuana use is a very common issue. While I am not involved in adjudication, I can say that marijuana is definitely treated as mitigated drug use in comparison to other illicit drugs just in the investigation aspect of it. I find it hard to believe that admitted marijuana use in and of itself would be a reason for clearance denial without further aggravating circumstances. (Unless you are applying for one of those positions that requires you to be an absolute boyscout) Now if your use occurred while actively holding a clearance, then it could certainly become a larger concern.

To most agencies, honesty is a bigger concern than the actual drug use itself. Be honest and you’ll likely be okay.

Hi Meatball,

What do you mean by push the papers to the side? How long would they let people languish over drug use?