Usage while clearance was not being used

I am in a situation very similar to this poster: Marijuana use when you had an inactive clearance.

There someone commented Marijuana use when you had an inactive clearance - #7 by willam-henderson.

So my interpretation of this rule is that someone who used an illegal substance after having a clearance but not while holding access to classified information is seen no differently as someone who has never applied for a clearance but has used the same substance? If that’s not true, why not? The adjudicative guidelines seem to say that but it also seems like people say that if you used after ever having had a clearance, then you will be looked at differently, but the guidelines were specifically changed to accommodate for this. What’s the real truth here?

“So my interpretation of this rule is that someone who used an illegal substance after having a clearance but not while holding access to classified information.” Beep wrong answer. The question states, have you ever used or otherwise been involved with a drug or controlled substance while possessing a security clearance.

What is wrong about what I said? It seems like you are talking about when filling out the SF86, I am talking about the adjudicative guidelines. Also, the security clearance is a subquestion of the drug question on the SF86.

This is what I linked to in the other post:
There was a change in the wording of regarding drug use after receiving a security clearance. The old (2005) version of the Adjudicative Guidelines (AG) said at 25(g) “any illegal drug use after being granted a security clearance.” The new 2017 version says at 25(f) “any illegal drug use while granted access to classified information or holding a sensitive position.” Under the old AG your recent MJ use would be a potentially disqualify condition under 25(g). Your recent MJ use is not a potentially disqualifying condition under 25(f) of the new AG; however, your recent MJ use will be view as potentially disqualifying under 25(a) “any substance misuse” just like everyone else.

It sounds like in terms of how you can be disqualified, you can be disqualified for any drug use yes, but if your usage was while a clearance was held but not being used (you left the job in which you had clearance for), then you are not subject to this disqualifying condition as well. Maybe you were saying this is wrong too, if so could you elaborate why?

@Marko @willam-henderson Would either of you be able to comment on this? It seems you both have responded to similar posts in the past. Basically, just want to know if there is a difference between usage while cleared and actively working with clearance versus after leaving job you were cleared for but within the two years of leaving the job (about 21 months)

If you were debriefed and out of access then the use is not looked at as severly as if you used while holding a clearance. Factors such as was it legal in your state, how often, why, future intent, and position are taken into consideration. Each case is looked upon by its own merits.


Okay, so on the SF86 all it says under the drug use category is “Was your use while possessing a security clearance?” What qualifies as possessing a clearance in this case? I have seen a bunch of people on forums say that you only answer yes to this if the use was while you held the job you were cleared for.

That would be something to explain in your interview with the investigator. When I conduct interviews, I interpret the question to mean holding a clearance at all, whether you are working at a job or not. If you as the subject interpret the question differently, that would be something that you should clarify in your interview. A lot of the adjudicative questions are oddly vague and difficult to interpret. But that’s the reason that we have the interviews, right?

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That’s exactly what I said! It may make a difference to adjudications but I doubt it. There are no caveats to the question of using drugs while possessing a clearance. From working cases for decades this process is very legalistic, black and white and when they ask for an answer to a question they aren’t looking for interpretation. If an Investigator attempted to interpret a question during reporting it would be sent back so fast their head would spin AND then they would probably get an IA to investigate intentions and whether the Investigator was attempting to falsify by manipulating the question.

Those changes are encouraging and long overdue. Changing culture and times. If they are honest nobody can blackmail them. At least on that subject